Thailand Open: Saina Nehwal, HS Prannoy pull out after testing positive for COVID-19

The Indian duo will be quarantined in a hospital in the Thai capital for 10 days, in accordance with local rules. Saina's husband and fellow player Parupalli Kashyap too has been taken to hospital, but his results are awaited.

FP Sports January 12, 2021 11:45:36 IST
Thailand Open: Saina Nehwal, HS Prannoy pull out after testing positive for COVID-19

File image of Saina Nehwal. AFP

India's badminton ace Saina Nehwal and men's player HS Prannoy have reportedly tested positive for coronavirus and have pulled out from Thailand Open that started in Bangkok on Tuesday (12 January).

The Indian duo will be quarantined in a hospital in the Thai capital for 10 days, in accordance with local rules. Saina's husband and fellow player Parupalli Kashyap has been taken to hospital, but his results are awaited. He too has withdrawn from the competition, claim reports.

This was supposed to be the first competition for Saina in ten months since the All England event that was held last March.

Saina and Kashyap had tested positive last year too and had recovered only in December. Ranked 20th in the world, the London Olympics bronze-medallist was drawn against World No 4 Nozomi Okuhara in the blockbuster first-round clash before the entire Japanese contingent withdrew due to COVID-19 concerns. Consequently, she was due to meet Malaysia's Kisona Selvaduray in the opening round.

World No 28 HS Prannoy was slated to meet Malaysia's Lee Zii Jia in his first-round match, while Kashyap, ranked 24th, was pitted against Canada's Jason Anthony Ho-Shue in his opening match.

Later in the day, the Badminton Association of India (BAI) confirmed the news. "The Indian squad, which travelled to Bangkok to participate in the Yonex Thailand Open followed by Toyota Thailand Open, had tested negative during the first two tests that were conducted earlier. However, Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal and HS Pronnoy were tested positive during the third test, which was done on Monday," it said in a statement.

“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.

“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.

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