The start of badminton’s prestigious All England Open Championships was delayed for several hours after a number of positive and “inconclusive” Covid-19 test results, officials said. The Indian camp is reported to be among those affected by the situation as the tournament was thrown into chaos on the night before scheduled start.

In the early hours of Wednesday Indian time, the final order of play and updated draw is not yet available with the managers’ meeting reportedly delayed due to the testing issues.

The Super 1000 tournament, featuring the return to the circuit of Japan’s world No 1 Kento Momota after he was injured in a fatal car crash last year, will start at 2 pm local time (1400 GMT) on Wednesday rather than 9 am. The tournament is not part of the revised Olympic qualification calendar.

“The Badminton World Federation and Badminton England can confirm that a significant number of Covid-19 tests conducted for participating teams at the All England Championships were deemed ‘inconclusive’ and as a result, the samples will be rerun,” said a BWF statement.

“BWF can also confirm a small number of positive tests were recorded and in agreement with Public Health England, these cases will be retested. These cases will continue to self-isolate while they are being retested.”

Officials said they would “continue to implement all testing protocols required by the UK Government and Public Health England to ensure the health and safety of all participants”.

Three Indian shuttlers were reported to have tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of the All England Championship while a few others were awaiting confirmation on their inconclusive samples, PTI reported on Tuesday.

A member of the support staff has also tested positive, leaving the players without much practice.

“We have three players and one member from the support staff who have tested positive. I find it completely absurd how this can happen, since we have been isolated in Zurich since the Swiss Open started two weeks ago,” India’s Danish foreign coach Mathais Boe was quoted as saying by

“We have been tested 5 times in 14 days and all tests have been negative. We have only gotten along with each other, so how can they suddenly test positive?”

The identity of the players affected by this issue has not been confirmed yet.

The All England Open was the final event on the BWF calendar to be played last year before the sport shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.

On Tuesday, Saina Nehwal and P Kashyap had tweeted about their frustrations with the testing.

International competition resumed in Denmark in October, but was suspended again until January when three tournaments, including the World Tour Finals, were staged in a biosecure “bubble” in Thailand.

World champion Momota will be playing his first international tournament since fracturing his eye socket in the crash that killed his driver following victory in the Malaysia Masters in January 2020.

The 26-year-old is facing a battle to regain form and fitness ahead of this year’s rescheduled Tokyo Olympics after being off the tour for more than a year.

He missed out on a comeback in Thailand after testing positive for Covid-19, which led to the Japan squad pulling out of the Bangkok events.

Players from China, South Korea and Taiwan had already opted not to travel because of virus restrictions, while women’s Olympic champion Carolina Marin of Spain has withdrawn because of an injury.

With AFP and PTI inputs