Indian badminton stars Saina Nehwal, Parupalli Kashyap and HS Prannoy have been cleared to compete at the Thailand Open, the Badminton World Federation announced on Tuesday.
Nehwal was initially forced to withdraw from her first-round match on Tuesday after she returned a positive test for coronavirus. Kashyap, who had tested negative for the virus, also had to pull out as he was sharing a room with Nehwal, to whom he is married. There were doubts over Prannoy’s match on Wednesday as he too tested positive for Covid-19.
Nehwal and Prannoy then underwent a second PCR test and an antibody blood test for further confirmation on Tuesday, according to a release by BWF.
Prannoy was cleared to play after he returned a negative test but Nehwal’s test came out as positive once again.
However, after diagnosis from Diagnosis and Investigation Committee of the Thailand Ministry of Public Health – a working group of six doctors that has been formed just for this tournament – she was cleared to play on the basis of the following finding:
Nehwal, Prannoy and Jansen tested positive on the PCR test but their antibody IgG was positive. A positive antibody test means a person has been infected with the COVID-19 virus at some point in the past. It does not mean they are currently infected. The trio all contracted COVID-19 in late 2020. The committee was satisfied that they are not infected and do not pose a danger to the tournament.
Thus Kashyap was also cleared to play the tournament.
Both their first round matches initially scheduled for Tuesday have now been moved to Wednesday.
Nehwal faces Malaysia’s Selvaduray Kisona while Kashyap takes on Jason Anthony Ho-Shue of Canada. Prannoy is up against. Zee Jia Lee of Malaysia in his first round game on Wednesday.
This is some positive news for the Indian contingent who otherwise endured a day to forget at the Thailand Open.
World champion PV Sindhu suffered a shock defeat on her return to international badminton, losing in three games to Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt in the opening round.
In men’s singles, world No 13 B Sai Praneeth suffered a straight game loss to Thailand’s Kantaphon Wangcharoen on his return to competition.
The women’s doubles pair of Ashwini and N Sikki Reddy couldn’t cross the opening hurdle, going down 16-21, 7-21 to fourth seeded Korean pair of Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong.
Indian mixed doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa were the only victors on the day, claiming a 21-11, 27-29, 21-16 win over the Indonesian pair of Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Widjaja.
On Wednesday, Kidambi Srikanth will also open his campaign at the Thailand Open.