JAKARTA, INDONESIA — The Badminton World Federation (BWF) has sent a formal apology to Indonesia’s Sports Minister Zainudin Amali over the country’s badminton team’s dismissal in the All England tournament this year.
“I sincerely apologize for the sadness and frustration experienced by all Indonesian players and team. On behalf of the entire BWF ranks, I convey this apology to President Joko Widodo, the Minister of Youth and Sports, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Indonesian Ambassador to the UK, officials, the General Chair of PBSI and ranks, the Indonesian people and especially the entire community and fur enthusiasts. badminton in Indonesia,” BWF President Poul-Erik Hoyer said in a written statement on Monday (23 Mar).
Indonesia’s National Olympic Committee (NOC) has officially reported the forced withdrawal from All England to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS). Indonesia’s NOC Chief Raja Sapta Oktohari vowed to fight his best for justice for the Indonesian team.
How did the strange withdrawal happen?
Indonesia’s sudden walkout from the oldest and most prestigious badminton tournament — triggered by a COVID-19 positive passenger on the same flight with the Indonesian team — shocked many and angered Indonesians.
The Indonesian team took the PCR swab test twice prior to their departure and after they arrived in Birmingham. The results turned out to be negative. They took the test again prior to returning to Indonesia.
However, there were seven people — managers and athletes — from other countries whose tests were positive a day before the tournament kicked off on 17 Mar.
They took the re-test and the results turned to be negative — something that appeared to be odd, given that the United Kingdom requires travellers to serve a ten-day quarantine on the day of the arrival.
“The order from BWF to isolate Indonesian players sounds illogical. Players who participated in the Swiss Open tournament in early March should have been quarantined for ten days if the committee sticks to the National Health Service (NHS)’s regulations.
“It is impossible to isolate them for ten days as the Swiss Open finished on 7 March. There was supposed to be the German Open after the Swiss Open. However, Germany cancelled the event due to the pandemic,” Head of Public Relations at Indonesia’s Badminton Association (PBSI), Broto Happy told TOC on 19 Mar.
A Turkish female badminton player who was also in the same flight with Indonesia was also disqualified just a few hours after Indonesia’s team was barred from participating in the tournament.
China-one of the world’s badminton powerhouses–decided to be absent due to the flight restriction as to the impact of the widespread of coronavirus.
Indonesians will have to wait for how the CAS will respond to the lawsuit. Broto stated that it was the NOC’s authority to bring the case to the court of arbitration.
Indonesian badminton players slammed the BWF for only pointing to the NHS as the scapegoat behind the withdrawal. Now they are focusing on several tournaments in preparation for the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
“But, BWF must be responsible for handling such a response, such as when we leave the hall for our hotel,” Indonesia’s women’s double player Greysia Polii said during the press conference, adding that BWF must protect athletes as its assets.