The COVID-19 pandemic that has been looming over us for close to two years now, is unfortunately here to stay for a longer time period. Despite vaccination drives being conducted and booster shots being made available for citizens, the virus is still wreaking havoc across the world. It might be noted that all sporting activities and events in enclosed or under open spaces have only recently made their comeback. However, just like in cricket, the rest of the sports are also making it mandatory for players to be a bio-bubble secured environment so as to reduce the risks as much as possible.
In a recent development, the India Open is the latest event to be hampered by the virus. Seven Indian players, namely- Kidambi Srikanth, Ashwini Ponnappa, Ritika Thakar, Treesa Jolly, Mithun Manjunath, Simran Singhi and Khushi Gupta have tested positive and have withdrawn from the event. This was confirmed by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) in the early hours of Thursday.
“The players returned a positive result to a mandatory RT-PCR test conducted on Tuesday. Doubles partners deemed close contact of the seven players have also been withdrawn from the tournament,” the world governing body said in a statement. Further mentioning about the competitive event is that, “The players will not be replaced in the main draw and their opponents will be given a walkover to the next round.”
It might be noted that the India Open, organised by the Badminton Association of India, is being played behind closed doors at the Indira Gandhi Stadium’s KD Jadhav Indoor Hall. As per the COVID-19 protocols, all the participating players are being tested everyday at the hotel and outside the stadium.
Unfortunately, B Sai Praneeth, the 2019 world championship bronze medallist, double specialists Manu Attri and Dhruv Rawat had tested positive for the virus ahead of their departure for the national capital and had pulled out before the start of the tournament. The entire England badminton contingent had also withdrawn ahead of the Super 500 event after the country’s doubles specialist Sean Vendy and coach Nathan Robertson tested positive for the virus.