Ania Setien who took the gold in the women's doubles, and silver in the singles (Photo: Badminton Photo)
How did competitive badminton successfully return in Bulgaria?
Date: 8/13/2020 10:42 AM
Published by : Alan Raftery
After five months without competitive badminton, Bulgaria were the first nation to host a tournament on the European badminton calendar in the form of the Bulgarian Junior Open Championships 2020 in Pazardzhik. 

Sharing the story on how it was possible from the Vasil Levski Sports Hall is Tournament Referee, Alexander Dzhurov. The tournament was a special one for Dzhurov, just 23, as referees do not usually get a chance to referee in their home country. Moreover, he was the referee of the first suspended tournament, the Italian Junior, and now the referee of the first tournament returning on the tournament calendar. 

Commenting on the important organisation needed to run the event safely and successfully, Dzhurov says.

-Even though I was appointed only few weeks before the tournament, it was quite busy to host the event. A lot of the participating Member Associations could not come to Bulgaria and we had quite a lot of withdrawals. Despite that, the organiser was focused on hosting the event. It took a lot of planning and last-minute changes. Even I was not certain that it will happen until I arrived and had the team managers’ meeting. 

-The fact the tournament took place was down to the determination and hard work of the organisers, Dzhurov added. 

The precautions 
In Bulgaria, sport events are allowed only if rigorous precautions are taken. Explaining some of these steps taken, Dzhurov states.

-All teams should have appropriate distance, everyone should sit with at least one free chair in between, all people not on the field of play should wear face masks and it is mandatory to disinfect your hands upon entering the venue. 

Many players, coaches and fans were very encouraged by the badminton event going ahead in Bulgaria, and perhaps it will pave the way for other Members Associations to also confidently host tournaments in these challenging times. Dzhurov shares this sentiment when he says.

-It was nice to see international badminton running again, but the feeling in the venue was completely different. The biggest difference was the lack of audience. 
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