In a shocking development amid the ongoing tour, top Badminton player Saina Nehwal has tested positive for the COVID-19 viral infection and this is the second time that she had contracted the novel coronavirus. Earlier in December, Saina and Parupalli Kashyap had tested positive after attending a wedding.
Saina Nehwal has gone to Thailand for the Yonex Thailand Open and she has tested positive for the viral infection on Monday. According to reports, along with Nehwal, another player HS Prannoy had also confirmed to have contracted the viral infection. Following the development, Parupalli Kashyap, who had close contact with Saina, has been kept under quarantine. Saina had tested negative in the first two COVID-19 tests, but tested positive in the third test.
After getting tested positive, Saina has withdrawn from the tournament. The Indian badminton squad had left for Thailand on January 3 to complete two back-to-back BWF World Tour Super 1000 tournaments and the BWF World Tour Finals. Saina had withdrawn from the tournament a day ahead of its commencement. The first Thailand Open will be held from January 12 to 17 while the second is scheduled for January 19 to 24. The World Tour Finals will then be starting on January 27 and will end on January 31.
The Badminton Association of India took to Twitter and said that Saina and Prannoy have been withdrawn from the tournament and have to be isolated at a hospital in Bangkok for a minimum of ten days. Kashyap has also kept under quarantine. The Association said that it is in constant touch with BWF, Team Management, Players, and Organizers. Apart from Saina and Prannoy, several other Indian players including PV Sindhu, Sai Praneeth, Kidambi Srikanth, and Ashwini Ponnappa are participating in the ongoing Thailand Open.
While the Association has said that Saina had tested positive, the ace Badminton player however expressed her displeasure over the lack of proper communication. Taking to Twitter, Saina said, "I still didn't receive the COVID test report from yesterday it's very confusing and today just before the warm-up for the match, they tell me to go to the hospital in Bangkok...saying that I'm positive...according to rules, the report should come in 5 hours". She posted her tweet by tagging the official handle of the Badminton World Federation.
However, the BWF had released a statement on Monday confirming that four players in the Thailand Open had tested positive for COVID-19. It said, "Can confirm four players tested positive for COVID-19 in Bangkok, Thailand after the third round of mandatory testing was conducted on Monday. The four players include two from India, one from Germany, and one from Egypt. According to reports, former world No.1 Saina Nehwal had asked the BWF to intervene, saying that physios and trainers cannot meet players during the entire tour even after everyone had tested negative.
I still didn’t receive the covid test report from yesterday it’s very confusing and today just before the warm up for the match they tell me to got to hospital in bangkok ... saying that I m positive ..according to rules the report should come in 5 hours.. @bwfmedia https://t.co/ETkWiNVHnP— Saina Nehwal (@NSaina) January 12, 2021
According to information coming in from #YonexThailandOpen2021, @nsaina tested positive for #covid in the third test yesterday and was asked to withdraw. Another Indian player has also tested positive. We could see more withdrawals from the Indian contingent.— Abhijeet Kulkarni (@abk6580) January 12, 2021