New Delhi, Jan 12, 2021: Saina Nehwal returned positive in the third Covid-19 test that she took in quarantine in Bangkok, Thailand. Saina was taken to the hospital along with HS Prannoy, who also tested positive first but returned negative on getting further tests done on Tuesday. Parupalli Kashyap, as a close contact, had also been asked to head to the hospital.
The Indian badminton players are in Bangkok as the game resumed ahead of the Olympics after a gap of almost 300 days. Tuesday marked the first round of the tournament but ace Indian shuttler Saina gave a walkover to Malaysia’s Kisona Selvaduray, who has now moved to the second round of women’s singles, as she tested coronavirus positive.
Saina remains positive and is in isolation for a minimum of 10 days at the hospital and will be tested again on Tuesday. Saina’s husband and fellow national shuttler Parupalli Kashyap’s match was also declared a walkover. He is in self-quarantine and also subject to another test. Prannoy whose retest came negative, will undergo another test in the evening.
Saina, however, complained of lack of information and confusion when she was asked to be taken to hospital on Tuesday. She tagged Badminton World Federation (BWF) in a tweet and 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 got to hospital in bangkok … saying that I m positive ..according to rules the report should come in 5 hours.”
The BWF released a statement confirming four positive corona players participating in the tournament. “Can confirm four players tested positive for COVID-19 in Bangkok, Thailand today after the third round of mandatory testing was conducted on Monday 11 January, 2021. The four players included two from India, one from Germany, and one from Egypt. Upon retesting the same specimens, one player from India, and both players from Germany and Egypt were found to be negative. These three players will be retested today,” BWF said.
“The entire Indian team has been categorised high risk by Thai health authorities and all players and team entourage are currently self-quarantining in their rooms at the hotel and will be subject to a PCR test today. Each individual is subject to daily testing until further notice from the Department of Disease Control, but players can continue to play upon producing a negative result. India players scheduled to play today will be allowed to come to the venue. No coaches, managers or other personnel from Team India are allowed.”
30-year old Saina had recently raised concerns over the fitness of the athletes after physios and trainers were restricted from meeting the badminton players during the entirety of their Thailand tour.
Having undergone coronavirus tests, Saina had asked Badminton World Federation (BWF), to sort the mess as this was impacting the performance of the players on the court.