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Hong Kong’s top badminton tournament has been cancelled because of stringent anti-Covid policies which required players to compete in an “isolation bubble”, organisers said on Thursday. The Hong Kong Open, scheduled for November 8-13, has not been held since the pandemic began and the latest announcement dealt a fresh blow to the Chinese city’s ambitions to reboot its decimated sports scene. The Hong Kong Badminton Association said there was “no viable option” but to cancel because the city’s anti-epidemic measures — which follow China’s zero-Covid strategy — differed from that of other World Tour events.
Local policies would mean that “over 400 overseas players/officials are required to train and compete for eight to 10 days in the form of isolation bubble”, the association said.
Hong Kong officials have given the green light to the Hong Kong Masters snooker in October and the Rugby Sevens in November, with both required to run a Beijing Olympics-style “closed loop” bubble for athletes.
The arrangements mean players will be separated from the community and cannot venture beyond the competition site and their accommodation.
Last week, a Hong Kong athletic body opted to cancel an upcoming race after authorities imposed last-minute restrictions, while a cross-harbour swim slated for October remains clouded by uncertainty.
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Hong Kong on Thursday reported more than 10,000 new infections, passing a threshold which health officials earlier warned could trigger a return of more stringent social distancing measures.
Badminton’s Macau Open at the start of November was also cancelled on Thursday because of Covid.
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