PETALING JAYA: Malaysia will replace China as hosts of the Asian Badminton Championships (ABC), the last tournament to offer Olympic Games qualifying points. Yesterday, the Asian Badminton Confederation (ABC) secretary general Datuk Punch Gunalan confirmed that the venue for the ABC had been changed, although the dates remain unchanged at April 20-24. “China had agreed to host the meet in the first place and they wanted to stage it at Chu Xiong. But in order to reach this place, we have to go to Kunming Province and take an hour flight to Dali. From there, the players and officials must take a two-hour bus ride to the venue,” said Gunalan. “The ABC is the last tournament to offers ranking points for the Olympics. It is an important event and me must take care of the players' interests. “Prior to the ABC meet, the players are already bogged down with a hectic schedule,” he said. The chase for qualifying points will intensify this year with the Swiss Open (March 2-7), All-England (March 9-14), French Open (March 17-21), Polish Open (March 25-28), Korean Open (March 30-April 4), Japan Open (April 6-11). A total of 172 players - for all five events - based on the April 30 world ranking will be selected for the Olympics.