Seven players have withdrawn from the ongoing India Open badminton championship in New Delhi after testing positive for Covid-19, organisers said on Thursday.

Men’s singles top seed Srikanth Kidambi and women’s doubles specialist Ashwini Ponnappa were among the players to have been withdrawn from the event. The other players to have tested positive were Ritika Thaker, Treesa Jolly, Mithun Manjunath, Simran Singhi and Khushi Gupta, as per Badminton Association of India.

Doubles partners deemed close contacts of the seven have also been withdrawn from the tournament which runs until Sunday, the Badminton World Federation said, adding that the positive results came from a mandatory RT-PCR test conducted on Tuesday.

As a result of the positive tests and close contacts, a total of 11 matches were listed as walkovers on the schedule for day three at the Super 500 tournament that is happening amid rising Covid-19 cases in the national capital.

“The players will not be replaced in the main draw and their opponents will be given a walkover to the next round,” it said in a statement.

N Sikki Reddy, Dhruv Kapila, Gayatri Gopichand, Akshan Shetty and Kavya Gupta were the others to be taken out of the competition after being deemed closed contacts of the infected. They, however, didn’t test positive for the virus, as things stand.

While Sikki partners Ashwini in women’s doubles, Dhruv plays mixed doubles with Sikki, Akshan forms the mixed doubles team with Simran, while Kavya is the women’s doubles partner of Khushi.

Top Indian player B Sai Praneeth and doubles specialist Dhruv Rawat were ruled out due to Covid-19 before the tournament started, the Badminton Association of India had confirmed.

The event originally meant to feature 219 players from 19 countries is being held behind closed doors because of the pandemic and was already missing a number of star names.

India is currently experiencing a sharp rise in infections driven by the new Omicron variant.

The entire England badminton contingent had also withdrawn ahead of the Super 500 event after the country’s doubles specialist Sean Vendy and coach Nathan Robertson tested positive for the virus.

Organised by the BAI, the 2022 edition of India Open is being held 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.

(With PTI and AFP inputs)