Top Indian midfielder B Sai Praneeth, who won the bronze medal at the 2019 World Championships, withdrew from the India Open Super 500 season opener on Sunday after testing positive for COVID-19. “Yes, I have tested positive for COVID-19 in the RT-PCR test. I had a cold and a cough since yesterday. I am isolating myself at home,” Praneeth told PTI. “I will have to wait at least a week before I try again. It is an important year and there is almost no time to get back in shape. I hope I can get back on the court quickly.” Badminton Association of India (BAI) general secretary Ajay Singhania has also confirmed Praneeth’s withdrawal from the $ 400,000 tournament.
Another Indian player, doubles specialist Dhruv Rawat, also tested positive for the virus before his departure for the national capital to participate in the tournament that begins Tuesday.
The player did not show any symptoms and underwent RT-PCR tests before leaving for Delhi.
In January last year, Saina Nehwal and HS Prannoy tested positive in Thailand, but tested negative after retesting.
Hosted by the Badminton Association of India (BAI), the 2022 edition of the India Open will be held behind closed doors at the Indira Gandhi Stadium’s KD Jadhav Indoor Hall with the governing body establishing strict COVID-19 protocols.
“All participating players will take the necessary safety precautions from their arrival in New Delhi according to protocol, and they will be screened every day at the hotel and from there they will have shuttle buses to go to the stadium, play matches and leave.” back to the hotel, “the BAI said in a statement.
“All players, as well as tournament officials, match officials, BWF and BAI officials, support staff, vendors and others involved will be required to undergo a mandatory COVID test every day outside the stadium, and only after testing negative will they be allowed to enter the place, “the statement added.
“BAI will not compromise the safety of the players or other people involved, and will follow all COVID-19 guidelines given by the government,” he said.
Two-time Olympic medalist P V Sindhu and World Championship bronze medalist Lakshya Sen were among the Indian players who already arrived in the national capital on Sunday.
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Kidambi Srikanth is likely to arrive late at night, while Saina will land on Monday.
Top shuttles, including world champion Loh Kean Yew and three-time men’s doubles world champion Mohammad Ahsan, had their first training session on Sunday.