Protocols in Denmark won’t stop shuttlers from strutting their stuff

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PETALING JAYA: They say hard work begets success.

The preparation for the Denmark Open has never been this thorough and hopefully, it will be rewarded with some quality and entertaining matches.

The Denmark Open will begin today with the first round matches in Odense to be played under stringent safety protocols and featuring a weakened field after withdrawals of many top shuttlers due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite all the standard operating procedures in place, all are in high spirits.

The hosts, who had worked tirelessly behind the scene, are determined to make the Open a success.

It all now depends on the players whether they can overcome the different and difficult environment, with restricted movements and a long list of do’s and don’t – to produce their A-game for their fans who have been starved of badminton action for seven months.

There will be no handshakes and the players have to receive the shuttlecocks from dispensers instead of service judges. There will be no interaction with fans although 500 are allowed to watch the game inside the hall. There are specific entrance and exit for the players to the practice and main halls.

Even eating out will be a chore as they will have to follow certain route to find pre-approved restaurants cleared for catering takeaway meals and even one with a private room where players can eat on-site.

Players will also have access to meals at their designated hotel or by ordering via specific food delivery service.

Then, there are the social distancing protocols that they have to adhere to at all times.

Amidst all these, the players have promised to give their best.

India’s Subhankar Dey enthusiastically said: “I was motivated to travel for this (Denmark Open) after seeing football and tennis matches restarted. Also, the Danish Badminton League has been happening for two months now.”

While Subhankar and a few Indian players will be out to ruffle some feathers, the men’s singles highlight will be a match between second seed Chou Tien-chen and local star Anders Antonsen.

They are expected to clash in the semi-finals unless the organisers decide to conduct a last-minute redraw. Just as interesting is the expected women’s singles clash between Spain’s Carolina Marin and Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara.





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