World Badminton Championships called off

World Badminton Championships scheduled for May 12-18 at Birmingham postponed due to continued uncertainty surrounding the SARS virus.

updated: February 25, 2007 09:48 IST
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The World Badminton Championships were called off today due to "continued uncertainty" surrounding the SARS virus. The International Badminton Federation postponed the event, scheduled for May 12-18 at the Birmingham Indoor Arena, after a meeting of its executive board. It's the first major sporting event outside Asia to be postponed because of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Nearly 350 players from 48 countries had been scheduled to attend. The tournament serves as the main qualifying event for next year's Athens Olympics. Asian players make up the power base of the Olympic sport. China, a dominant force in the sport, was planning to send a 40-person delegation. "It's extremely regrettable that the World Championships has had to be called off at this late stage," IBF chief executive Neil Cameron said. "The Executive Board clearly felt that this is the proper decision to take, because they were concerned that there would still be a risk to everyone involved, and because of their and others' continued fears regarding SARS." The IBF said several countries had "reluctance or inability" to send players. "Considering that the world championships environment would result in many close contact situations between players, officials and volunteers, a majority of the IBF Executive Board felt on balance that a postponement was the responsible decision," the IBF said. Tournament sponsor QI Ltd also requested a postponement. (AP)