Bhubaneswar, Jan 20 (IANS) With just five days left for the 2022 Odisha Open to kick-start, the state government is leaving no stones unturned to host the inaugural edition of the international badminton tournament, which will witness over 300 players from 18 countries vie for the top honours.
The 2022 Odisha Open is a BWF Super 100 tournament that will take place at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Cuttack city from January 25 to 30.
The Odisha Open, however, will be held behind closed doors without spectators and strict adherence to Covid guidelines and norms laid down by the State government and Badminton World Federation (BWF).
Speaking of the preparedness, Odisha sports minister Tusharkanti Behera said, “Odisha is hosting this event for the first time and our collective efforts are to ensure an overall safe and secure environment for players to participate in their respective games.
The Sports and Youth Services Department is working closely with Badminton Association of India and Odisha State Badminton Association to ensure that the event is as per BWF standards and is conducted smoothly with safety of players being given utmost priority, he said.
“Covid protocols have also been clearly defined. We look forward to hosting all the players and officials and wish them a wonderful stay in Odisha and good luck for their event”, added Behera.
The Minister further said the state government has always taken great strides to promote sports, across several disciplines, and badminton is one of them. Hosting this inaugural edition of the Odisha Open is another step in getting more sportspersons from the state ecosystem to aspire and grow in the sport.
“Very soon, our Badminton High Performance Centre will also be completed and get operational,” he stated.
As per the protocols laid down by Odisha government and Badminton World Federation (BWF), RT-PCR test is mandatory for all players and officials and they have to arrive before January 23 to participate in the event.
Players also need to carry their RTPCR negative reports (72 hours) at the time of arrival along with their vaccination certificate.A Moreover, as per the BWF guidelines, no player will be allowed to enter the venue (event and practice) without a prior negative RT-PCR report. The State Badminton Association has also been asked to intimate players on these guidelines, officials said.
Random testing will also be conducted for officials and players who will not stay at official hotels. Teams from Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation and Capital Hospital along with a dedicated team from the State Sports department will be deployed for this activity, they said.
The venue, Jawaharlal Indoor Stadium, Cuttack, has gone through minor upgradation and enhancement befitting the event. The district administration and Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) are also ensuring the Silver City (Cuttack) is ready to welcome the players and officials and create a memorable experience for them.