Bangkok, Jan 12 (IANS) Indian shuttlers Saina Nehwal and HS Prannoy, who had recently recovered from Covid-19, have once again tested positive for novel coronavirus and as a result have withdrawn the Yonex Thailand Open which began here on Tuesday.
The Indian squad, which travelled to Bangkok to participate in the Yonex Thailand Open followed by Toyota Thailand Open and BWF World Tour Finals, had tested negative during the first two tests that were conducted earlier.
However, Saina and Prannoy returned positive during the third test conducted on Monday.
“We are constantly in touch with the BWF as well as the organisers and our team management and players. These are unprecedented times but BWF is doing everything to ensure full support to our players including their safety,” BAI general secretary Ajay Singhania said in a statement.
After testing positive, both the players have been taken to the hospital to be isolated for a minimum period 10 days. Meanwhile, Saina’s husband Parupalli Kashyapm has also withdrawn from the tournament and is quarantined in his hotel room due to close proximity with Saina.
“According to the guidelines and safety norms, these three players will not be participating in the tournament. However, all other players have been allowed to participate but they have to play without the presence of coaches and support staff as per the safety protocols,” Singhania added.
However, Saina has said claimed she didn’t receive her Covid-19 test reports and it was only before the warm up for her Tuesday’s match, she was told by the authorities that she has tested positive for coronavirus.
“I still didn’t receive the Covid test report from yesterday it’s very confusing and today just before the warm up for the match they tell me to get to hospital in Bangkok … saying that I m positive…according to rules the report should come in four hours…” tweeted Saina.
Saina, the Olympic bronze medallist, was slated to take on Kisona Selvaduray of Malaysia in her opening round contest on Tuesday who has now been given a walkover.
Prannoy, on the other hand, was slated to take on Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia while Kashyap was to take on Jason Anthony Ho-Shue of Canada in their respective opening round contests.
While the trio will miss the tournament, the rest of the Indian team players have been allowed to participate in the event.
Saina had recently raised concerns over the fitness of the athletes after physios and trainers were restricted from meeting the badminton players during the entirety of their Thailand tour. However, the rules that have been put in place by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) and Badminton Association of Thailand (BAT) stated that it was only for the first three days that players could not meet their support staff until the start of the training period.
The entire Indian contingent, despite being tested negative in the pre-tournament test, is expected to be re-tested once again on Tuesday, BAI further informed.
Saina, Prannoy, Kashyap alongwith RMV Guru Sai Dutt and Pranaav Jerry Chopra had tested positive last month and had served the mandatory quarantine period.
Saina last participated in the All England Open in March last year and Tuesday’s game was supposed to be her first since the outbreak of coronavirus.
On the court, India made a winning start with mixed doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa registering a 21-11, 27-29, 21-16 win over the Indonesian pair of Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Widjaja.
The Indian duo will next face the Chinese pair of Chang Tak Ching and Ng Wing Yung for a place in the quarterfinals.