Saina Nehwal, H S Prannoy, YONEX, Thailand Open

Asia Leg: Saina, Prannoy withdraw after testing COVID positive, Kashyap too forced to pull out

Top Indian shuttlers Saina Nehwal and H S Prannoy were on Tuesday forced out of the YONEX Thailand Open Super 100 tournament after testing positive for COVID-19 in a third round of tests here, just a few weeks after recovering from the dreaded infection.
Former Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap too was forced to withdraw “due to close proximity” with wife and fellow shuttler Saina.
“After testing positive, both the players have been taken to the hospital to be isolated for a minimum period 10 days. While, Parupalli Kashyap has also withdrawn from the tournament and is quarantined in his hotel room due to close proximity with Nehwal,” the Badminton Association of India said in a statement.
Saina and Prannoy had recovered from COVID-19 last month and along with the Indian team were looking to participate in the Asia leg events comprising the Thailand Open (January 12-17), TOYOTA Thailand Open (January 19-24) and the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2020 (January 27-31).
Saina, a London Olympics bronze-medallist, was scheduled to play Kisona Salvaduray of Malaysia in the first round on Tuesday, while Prannoy and Kashyap were supposed to face Malaysia’s eighth seed Lee Zii Jia and Canada’s Jason Anthony Ho-Shue respectively.
While the trio will miss the tournament, the rest of the Indian team players have been allowed to participate in the event.
“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,” BAI general secretary Ajay Singhania said.
Saina, Prannoy, Kashyap alongwith RMV Gurusaidutt and Pranaav Chopra had tested positive last month and had served the mandatory quarantine period.
They had also cleared the pre-departure COVID-19 test and also tested negative on arrival in Bangkok.
“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,” Singhania said.
The Indian contingent includes the likes of Olympic silver-medallist PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth, Sourabh Verma, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Chirag Shetty and Ashwini Ponappa.
On the court, India made a winning start with mixed doubles pair of Satwik and Ashwini claiming a 21-11, 27-29, 21-16 win over the Indonesian pair of Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Widjaja.