Former world number one shuttler Kidambi Srikanth got a bleeding nose after undergoing multiple Covid-19 tests and miffed at the poor treatment of health officials at Thailand Open, the Indian on Tuesday called it “unacceptable”.
Besides Srikanth, the Indian contingent includes the likes of Olympic silver-medallist PV Sindhu, Sourabh Verma, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Chirag Shetty and Ashwini Ponappa.
“We take care of ourselves for the match not to come and shed blood for THIS. However, I gave 4 tests after I have arrived and I can’t say any of them have been pleasant. Unacceptable,” an upset Srikanth wrote on his Twitter handle.
The 27-year-old, who is scheduled to open his campaign on Wednesday against fellow Indian Verma, shared photographs of his nose bleeding after he was tested for the fourth time.
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) said Srikanth is being attended to by a doctor and it is awaiting a medical explanation.
“A doctor from the Department of Disease Control and the Covid-19 testing team is attending to Srikanth Kidambi. BWF is still awaiting a medical explanation from Badminton Association of Thailand and the Department of Disease Control as to the reasoning for the occurrence,” a BWF official told PTI.
On Wednesday, the Badminton Association of Thailand issued this statement: “The athlete (Srikanth) had been swabbed three times earlier with the most recent one possibly causing irritation and fragility of the capillaries. Therefore, when the swab was repeated on Tuesday, and factoring in the athlete’s tense nature, the position of the stick in the nasal passage was misaligned, which caused the slight bleeding noticed from the tip of the swab.
“The Covid-19 staff member did not notice any bleeding from the athlete’s nose and there was no complaint from Kidambi at that point. After about three to five minutes, another athlete from the India team reported that Kidambi had a nosebleed. It is not known whether the athlete had blown his nose or stuck tissue up his nostrils which could have caused more blood vessels to rupture.
“Badminton Association of Thailand, Thonburi Healthcare Group and the Ministry of Public Health have a strict Covid-19 prevention policy to do the nasal passage swab as often as every three to four days for early detection to reassure the athletes and their entourage to stay Covid-19 free throughout the tournament.”
The Indian players are being tested for the fourth time following the positive Covid-19 result of star player Saina Nehwal, who was forced out of the tournament.
Former Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap, too, was forced to withdraw “due to close proximity” with wife and fellow shuttler Saina, while HS Prannoy’s participation hung in balance after his sample came out negative following a positive result in a bizarre turn of events.
The BWF allowed the rest of India players to come to the venue and play but made it clear that “no coaches, managers or other personnel from Team India” will be allowed.
The 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,” it added.
It was a disappointing day for India on the field as only the mixed doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa ended up on the winning side. Sindhu lost her game to Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt while Bsai Praneeth was beaten by Kantaphon Wangcharoen.
(With PTI inputs)