Indian badminton players express concern after Taiwanese athlete at All England tests positive

By: Sports Desk |

Published: March 20, 2020 5:44:58 pm

Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu were both present at the All England Championships, with Saina having already slammed the organizers for having gone ahead with the tournament.

Reports of a Taiwanese athlete present on the sidelines of the All England Badminton Championships testing positive for the Covid-19 have caused concern among Indian badminton players. Several Indian shuttlers – including PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth and Lakshya Sen – had participated in the tournament earlier this month.

Danish shuttler Hans-Kristian Vittinghus shared a Taiwanese media report that said a 10-year-old sports student – who is understood to be the Taiwanese national team’s sparring partner and had been present during the All England Badminton Championship – tested positive for the virus on Friday. The report added that the diagnosed person used to take the team bus with the Taiwan team.

Several Indian players had decided to withdraw from the All England Championships because of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Some of those who were present at the tournament expressed concern at this development.

HS Prannoy, Sameer Verma and Sourabh Verma are the men’s singles players who had decided to withdraw while doubles specialists Chirag Shetty, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy had also opted out.

PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal – both previous Olympic medallists – made the trip to England, as did Kidambi Srikanth, Sai Praneeth, Lakshya Sen and others. Sindhu, Lakshya, and Sikki Reddy and Ashwini Ponnappa were the ones who progressed to the second round.

READ | Saina Nehwal battles the uncontrollables

Sindhu was given the choice of pulling out of All England Championships after the Indian government’s travel restrictions came into force in the middle of the tournament but Sindhu decided to carry on. She entered the quarterfinals where she eventually lost to Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara the next day.

“Me and Sindhu are in self isolation now. We are not meeting anyone,” PV Sindhu’s father told PTI.

Saina had slammed the All England organizers earlier this week, saying officials had put profits ahead of player welfare by allowing the tournament to go ahead last weekend despite the coronavirus pandemic. Parupalli Kashyap had said the players had been “under pressure” to play.

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