Set to be conferred the Arjuna award on Saturday, Indian badminton player Satwiksairaj Rankireddy has tested positive for Covid-19 and been in home quarantine for nearly a week.
The 20-year-old men’s doubles player said he is yet to develop any symptoms of the infection.
The national awards will be given away in a virtual ceremony on Saturday due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It is unfortunately true. A few days back, I went for a test (antigen) and it has been five days since I have been in quarantine. I went for an RT-PCR (test) and that too came positive,” said the 20-year-old from his home in Amalapuram.
“I am taking medicines. There are no symptoms, neither my parents nor any friends, none had the virus. So, I don’t know from where it has come,” he said.
Satwik said he will undergo another test in three days’ time.
“I have no cough, fever or body ache. I tested positive and was to a separate room. Many people are helping me. I will go for test again after three days, so let’s see,” he said.
“Good thing is my parents have tested negative,” he added.
Satwik and his doubles partner Chirag Shetty, who had claimed the Commonwealth Games silver in 2018 and won the Thailand Open Super 500 last year, were recommended for the Arjuna Award jointly.
Satwik earlier said the award will motivate the duo to win an Olympic medal next year.
“It is a proud moment for me. It is extra special as it is my first award. This award has provided a big motivation to work towards our goal of earning a medal at Olympics,” he had said.
Later, the Sports Authority of India said three winners of this year’s awards, including Satwiksairaj, have tested positive for Covid-19 and will not attend the virtual ceremony.
The SAI said that 65 of the 74 awardees will attend the first-ever virtual National Sports Awards from its centres across the country due to the pandemic.
“There are 74 awards in seven categories. Total 65 award winners will be attending the function from various locations, Nine award winners will not attend due to several reasons like being quarantined, tested positive, ill health or not in the country etc,” the SAI said in a statement.
“Three award winners after having tested positive will not attend the function.”
The SAI further said all health and safety protocols, keeping with the guidelines of the Health Ministry, are being followed at the venues where dignitaries and awardees will be present.
“Further, the Sports Ministry has advised every award winner to undergo a Covid-19 test before reporting to the venue. All centers have been thoroughly sanitised and arrangements have been made to ensure social distancing during the awards function,” SAI said.