India to host 2026 BWF World Championship

New Delhi : India will host the World Badminton Championships in 2026, the sport’s global governing body, Badminton World Federation (BWF) confirmed on Tuesday.

The coronavirus pandemic, which brought sporting activities to a halt in 2020, has forced the BWF to rejig its international tournament calendar. India were scheduled to organise the Sudirman Cup in 2023 but the BWF decided to award the hosting rights of the World Mixed Team championships to Suzhou, China.

The BWF was forced to shift this 2021 Sudirman Cup from Suzhou, China to Vantaa, Finland due to the COVID-19 situation in the Asian country.

‘Suzhou will now stage the 2023 edition of the BWF World Mixed Team Championships, with original 2023 hosts India accepting the opportunity to host the BWF World Championships in 2026,’ the BWF said in a statement.

‘The Badminton World Federation (BWF) can confirm Suzhou, China has been awarded the hosting rights of the TotalEnergies BWF Sudirman Cup Finals 2023,’ it added.

This will be the second time that India would host the world championship, which is held every year except for the Olympic year. India had hosted the premium tournament in Hyderabad in 2009.

‘Staging a tournament of the stature of World Championships is a great achievement for us at Badminton Association of India as well as for the country,’ Badminton Association of India (BAI) president Himanta Biswa Sarma said.

‘We are thankful to BWF for considering India for Badminton’s most prestigious and premier tournament and I believe with world class shuttlers coming to participate will not only be a great opportunity and motivation for the enthusiasts of the game but will see a huge growth for the sport across the country too,’ added Sarma, who was also recently elected as BWF Council member for the 2021-24 period.

India has so far won 10 World Championship medals with reigning champion P V Sindhu leading the chart with a gold, two silver, and two bronze medals while Prakash Padukone won India’s first medal at the World Championships in 1983.

In 2019, Olympic-bound B Sai Praneeth had ended a 36-year-long wait for a men’s singles world championships medal at Basel, Switzerland.

Apart from that, 2012 Olympic medallist, Saina Nehwal had won the silver and bronze in 2015 and 2017 editions respectively, while the women’s doubles combination of Ashwini Ponnappa and Jwala Gutta had bagged a bronze medal in 2011 at London.

‘With a string of tournaments being canceled and not been able to stage due to the pandemic, globally, BWF had reached out to us with an alternate proposal. We at BAI felt that this was a great opportunity for the country as well as for the badminton fraternity,” said BAI General Secretary Ajay K Singhania.

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