PETALING JAYA: The suspension and cancellation of Badminton World Federation (BWF) tournaments in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic are not just affecting the top Malaysian shuttlers chasing for Tokyo Olympics qualification.

Second-stringers like singles shuttler Cheam June Wei, Goh Jin Wei and S. Kisona are also feeling the heat. June Wei is certainly among those who are feeling upset at not being able to compete on the international circuit.

June Wei was supposed to play in the Swiss Open (March 17-22), Orleans Masters in France (March 24-29) and Finnish Open (April 2-5), but all three meets were among the 14 tournaments called off by the BWF on Friday.

The 23-year-old is itching for action as he aims to build on his impressive display at the Asia Team Championships in Manila last month.

It was an outing to remember for him in Manila as he defeated the likes of Son Wan-ho of South Korea, Kenta Nishimoto of Japan and Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie to help Malaysia finish runners-up and qualify for the Thomas Cup Finals.

Besides the Asia team meet, June Wei has only taken part in the Thailand Masters in January this season.

The wait also continues for women’s singles shuttlers Jin Wei and Kisona, who were entered for the Orleans Masters and Finnish Open.

The duo were looking forward to the back-to-back European meets in a bid to improve on their rankings.

Jin Wei now lies at a lowly no. 140 after a long absence from competition due to her stomach ailment while world No. 94 Kisona has only played in the Asia Team Championships since her surprise SEA Games gold medal victory in December.

Like June Wei, Kisona also did well in Manila when she stunned Japan’s world No. 19 Aya Ohori.

BAM secretary Datuk Kenny Goh said they were aware of the issue and gave an assurance that plans are in place to address the lack of competition.

“In the absence of tournaments that could last for a few months, it’s important that our shuttlers stay sharp and keep themselves in top condition,” said Kenny, who is also the coaching and training committee chairman.

“To do that, we’re planning to conduct more simulation matches and introduce an internal ranking system for them to remain competitive and motivated.”

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