Men’s singles players HS Prannoy and Sameer Verma and mixed doubles player Pranaav Jerry Chopra are among four Indians who tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of the All England Open Championship in London.
Masseur G. Srinivas is the fourth member of the Indian contingent to have returned a positive result. However, the players and support staff have only received the results of their tests verbally and were not formally sent the reports.
“None of them have got their reports, they have all been told verbally,” a Badminton Association of India (BAI) official told IANS on Wednesday. “No one have got their reports and all members of the Indian contingent have had to stay in their rooms, in accordance with the protocol,” the official further said.
The contingent was tested a second time on Tuesday and is now awaiting the results. If Prannoy, Verma and Chopra test positive again, the three players would have to withdraw from the tournament and their opponents would get byes. This could also jeopardise N. Sikki Reddy’s campaign in mixed doubles as she is Chopra’s partner in the event.
Originally set to start at 9 a.m. GMT (2.30 p.m. IST) on Wednesday, the All England Open was delayed due to several cases of positive tests among players and officials from multiple countries. The tournament will now start at 2 p.m. GMT (7.30 p.m. IST) on Wednesday.
The schedule for the matches on Day 1 will be declared after results of the second round of tests taken on Tuesday are declared. “They have not yet declared the schedule for the matches. A lot of players from Denmark and Malaysia have tested positive so all of them are being treated in the same manner,” the official said.
India’s doubles coach Mathias Boe earlier said that it is absurd how Indians can test positive for the virus. “We have three players and one member from the support staff who have tested positive. I find it completely absurd how this can happen, since we have been isolated in Zurich since the Swiss Open started two weeks ago,” India’s Boe was quoted as saying by sport.tv2.dk.
“We have been tested 5 times in 14 days and all tests have been negative. We have only gotten along with each other, so how can they suddenly test positive?” he further said.
The testing process was something that left a few players puzzled with 2012 London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal and her husband Parupalli Kashyap both tweeting their frustration.
“Ok I have to do this now! Matches are starting tomorrow at the @YonexAllEngland and still no reports of the Covid test done 30hrs before. No practice, no gym.. for 2 days now. @bwfmedia,” Saina tweeted.
“What kind of testing is this? 31 hours later still inconclusive and a re-test again god knows when… matches start tomorrow! @YonexAllEngland @bwfmedia #beyondabsurd #ridiculous,” tweeted Kashyap.