New Delhi: The India Open on Thursday was infiltrated by the COVID-19 pandemic with as many as seven Indian shuttles, including current silver medalist at the Kidambia Srikantha World Championships, who withdrew from the competition after being positive for the virus.
The World Badminton Federation (BWF) announced this in the wee hours, before the Badminton Association of India (BAI) confirmed the names.
In addition to Srikantha, other withdrawn players are Ashwini Ponappa, Ritika Rahul Thkar, Treesa Jolly, Mithun Manjunath, Simran Aman Singh and Khushi Gupta.
“Players gave a positive result to the mandatory RT-PCR test performed on Tuesday. “Partners in pairs that were considered close contacts with the seven players were also withdrawn from the tournament,” the world governing body said in a statement.
“The players will not be replaced in the main draw, and their opponents will get a pass to the next round.”
N Sikki Reddy, Dhruv Kapila, Gayatri Gopichand, Akshan Shetty and Kavya Gupta were also withdrawn from the competition after being considered closed contacts of the infected. However, they were not positive for the virus.
Sikki is a partner with Ashwini in female doubles, Dhruv plays mixed doubles with Sikki, Akshan makes a mixed doubles team with Simran, while Kavya Khushi is a female couple.
Initially, the BWF did not reveal the names of seven players.
Earlier, B Sai Praneeth, a bronze medalist at the 2019 World Cup, double specialists Manu Attri and Dhruv Rawat were positive for the virus before leaving for the capital and withdrew before the tournament began.
The entire English badminton contingent also withdrew ahead of the Super 500 after Croatian doubles expert Sean Vendy and coach Nathan Robertson tested positive for the virus.
Organized by BAI, the India Open 2022 is being held behind closed doors at KD Jadhav Hall at Indira Gandhi Stadium.
According to COVID-19 protocols, all participating players are tested daily at the hotel and outside the stadium.
Two-time Olympic medalist PV Sindhu, silver and bronze medalists at the World Championships Kidambi Srikanth and Lakshya Sen, bronze medalist of the London Games Saina Nehwal are among the Indian players who qualified for the second round of the tournament.
Among the top international stars in the tournament, which is being held for the first time in three years after the cancellation of the last two editions, compete world champion Loh Kean Yew, three-time world champion in men’s doubles Mohammad Ahsan and Thai Busanan Ongbamrungphan. because of the pandemic.
Delhi reported 27,561 cases of COVID-19, the second largest increase in a single day since the pandemic began, and 40 deaths on Wednesday.