India’s leading shuttlers have been forced to withdraw from the Thailand Open.
By Ashima Sethi
Story has been updated as of 13th January 2021 (scroll to the bottom).
The Badminton Association of India has confirmed that professional badminton singles player Saina Nehwal has pulled out of the Yonex Thailand Open after testing positive for the novel coronavirus.
A former world number one with over 24 international titles, Saina has been in quarantine since January 4th, but tested positive during her third medical examination that took place on Monday. The badminton ace has since been transported to a Bangkok-based hospital where she is expected to quarantine for a minimum of 10 days.
The association has also confirmed that Prannoy Haseena Sunil Kumar, better known as HS Prannoy, has also tested positive for COVID-19, with the current Indian number two in badminton also withdrawing from the competition. The rest of the squad have been allowed to compete in the tournament, with India’s campaign off to a winning start with Indian mixed doubles pair Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa defeating Indonesia’s Hafiz Faisal and Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja.
It has been reported that this is the second time both Nehwal and Prannoy have tested positive for the coronavirus. Last month, the pair, along with several other badminton players, attending Guru Sai Dutt‘s wedding and tested positive after the celebrations. All of them were put into quarantine, and tested negative before travelling into Bangkok. The players were tested once more on their arrival and had negative results before being put into Thailand’s mandatory quarantine. Sources have yet to confirm whether Parupalli Kashyap, Nehwal’s husband has also tested positive for COVID-19.
As of 13th January 2021, Nehwal, Prannoy, and Kashyap were all cleared to play in the Yonex Thailand Open after a reassessment of their samples. Reports state that Nehwal and Prannoy tested positive on their antibody tests, which indicates that an individual has had COVID-19 in the past but is not currently infected.
Featured photo: Zee 5