Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara (ANTARA) - Youth and Sports Minister Zainudin Amali assured his support and understanding of the Indonesian Badminton Association's (PBSI's) justification to withdraw from the BWF World Championships in Huelva, Spain, planned on December 12-19, 2021.

"I have been informed that the pandemic factor is behind their decision to withdraw from the competition, and we assure our support to any decisions made by the national badminton federation," Amali stated at a press conference during the Grand Design of National Sports dissemination event in Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara, on Thursday.

As badminton is the mainstay sport of Indonesia in international sporting events since a long time, the minister expressed confidence that the racket sport will remain as such despite the national team's withdrawal from the competition.

Amali also noted that despite not mentioning badminton as the main national sport while introducing the grand design earlier, no other implication was intended on the negligence.

"I did not mention badminton not because they are withdrawing from the competition, but merely since the presentation slide that I read while I am speaking does not include badminton besides weightlifting, archery, and wall climbing sports that also become our mainstay in international competitions," Amali noted.

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Earlier, PBSI officially declared its decision to withdraw Indonesia's national badminton team from the BWF World Championships scheduled to take place next week.

The sports organization cited security and safety concerns of the national team amid the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 as the reason behind withdrawal from the championship, with PBSI chairperson Agung Firman Sampurna sanctioning the decision.

Inputs from team officials, coaches, and the organization’s training and performance division head Rionny Mainaky were taken into account before the organization finalized its decision to withdraw from the games.

"We did not want to risk our athletes' safety and security. We also consulted athletes regarding this decision, and they have expressed their agreement to the withdrawal," Mainaky stated.

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Translator: Nur Imansyah, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Suharto
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