The Denmark Open was dealt a massive blow after two-time defending champion Kento Momota pulled out of the competition, along with 14 other Japanese shuttlers due to concerns over the COVID-19 situation in Europe.
The Nippon Badminton Association confirmed the news, most likely on the back of the rising cases in Denmark, where an average of 400 new cases are recorded daily.
The world number one, who had been scheduled to take on Canada’s Brian Yang in the opening round, had been itching to get back to competitive action after recovering from a car crash in Malaysia in January.
The reigning world champion will now most likely see action at the Japan national championship in December.
Meanwhile, Japan will still see representation at the Denmark Open, taking place from October 13th to 18th, as women’s singles world number four Nozomi Okuhara and 16th ranked men’s singles shuttler Kenta Nishimoto are among the shuttlers slated to compete.
With Momota out, Denmark’s third seed Anton Antonsen should be confident of his chances to become the first homester to lift the men’s singles title in a decade.
Antonsen should clear his first round against India’s Ajay Jayaram, likely facing his biggest test in the form of second seed Chou Tien-chen in the last four.
Jan O’ Jorgensen was the last Dane to win in 2010, and this time the eighth seed has a date against Sweden’s Felix Burestedt in the opener.
The Denmark Open is the only event scheduled to take place on the BWF World Tour this year, seven months since the All-England was staged in March.