Organisers claim it is "impossible" to plan the 2020 BWF World Junior Championships in Auckland ©Badminton Oceania

The 2020 Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Junior Championships have been cancelled with organisers conceding it was "impossible" to plan the event in New Zealand due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Auckland was set to stage the competition from January 18 to 24 after it was moved back by four months to give organisers a better chance of staging a successful event.

But the BWF released a statement saying the "ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and uncertainty" left them with "no choice" but to cancel.

New Zealand has been praised for its handling of the pandemic with 25 deaths and 1,887 cases recorded, but the BWF insisted the possibility of postponing the competition for a second time was "not an option".

"We are of course disappointed not to be able to stage the 2020 version of the BWF World Junior Championships," said Thomas Lund, secretary general of the BWF.

"But the entry restrictions in place and complexities related to the COVID-19 situation makes it impossible for the event to be planned and therefore hosted in New Zealand in January 2021 as currently scheduled."

BWF has confirmed it has accepted a proposal from Badminton New Zealand to stage the 2024 edition as a replacement for the edition lost.

Hosts for the 2021, 2022 and 2023 championships were already awarded by the BWF Council in 2018, making 2024 the next available year.

"We would like to thank Badminton New Zealand, tournament organisers, its partners ATEED (Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development) and the New Zealand Government, for their enthusiasm and commitment to staging the World Junior Championships," said Lund.

Kunlavut Vitidsarn of Thailand has won the past three men's singles titles at the BWF World Junior Championships ©BWF
Kunlavut Vitidsarn of Thailand has won the past three men's singles titles at the BWF World Junior Championships ©BWF

"It only seems fair recognition of their efforts to stage these championships that we award them the 2024 edition.

"We appreciate that some junior players will turn 19 years old in 2021 and unfortunately miss out on a BWF World Junior Championships experience.

"We can only encourage them to continue to develop their talent as badminton athletes and start to enter open international events.

"It has been a difficult and extraordinary year during the pandemic but we all look forward to a more consistent junior international badminton calendar in 2021 and the next BWF World Junior Championships in China in October 2021."

Joe Hitchcock, chief executive of Badminton New Zealand, said they were "tremendously disappointed" with the cancellation, but felt it was the "right decision" due to the "current situation".

"We know that the world was looking forward to visiting New Zealand and enjoying a truly inspiring event with the best young badminton players on the planet and we feel for all those impacted by this cancellation," said Hitchcock.

"We are, however, thrilled that fans and players from around the world will still be able to enjoy a uniquely Kiwi badminton experience, albeit a few years later than originally planned.

"We are particularly grateful to the BWF, Barfoot & Thompson and our event partners, who have been incredibly supportive and accommodating to ensure that we could get across the line to host the 2024 event."

Richard Clarke, head of major events for ATEED, added: "Whilst the news is understandably disappointing for the badminton community and Auckland as a host, we are delighted to hear that the event will not be lost to our region.

"The decision by the international governing body to award the 2024 event to New Zealand speaks volumes for our reputation as a world-class events destination and we cannot wait to extend our hospitality."