Four Indians, including three players and one member of staff, are among several who have tested positive for Covid-19 at the All England Open Championship. The Badminton World Federation (BWF) said in its statement on Wednesday that the championship will now be off to a delayed start due to the number of positive and “inconclusive” cases.
While the tournament will start on Wednesday, as was the case earlier, it will start at 2 p.m. GMT (7p.m. IST) as opposed to 9 a.m. GMT (2 p.m. IST).
“The Badminton World Federation (BWF) and Badminton England can confirm that a significant number of COVID-19 tests conducted for participating teams at the YONEX All England Open Badminton Championships 2021 were deemed ‘inconclusive’ and as a result, the samples will be rerun,” said the BWF.
“BWF can also confirm that 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 retested. As a result, play will now commence at 2 p.m. GMT on Wednesday 17 March 2021,” it further said.
India’s doubles coach Mathias Boe earlier said that it is absurd how Indians can test positive for the virus. “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 Boe was quoted as saying by sport.tv2.dk.
“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?” he further said.
The testing process was something that left a few players puzzled with 2012 London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal and her husband Parupalli Kashyap both tweeting their frustration.
“Ok I have to do this now! Matches are starting tomorrow at the @YonexAllEngland and still no reports of the Covid test done 30hrs before. No practice, no gym.. for 2 days now. @bwfmedia,” Saina tweeted.
“What kind of testing is this? 31 hours later still inconclusive and a re-test again god knows when… matches start tomorrow! @YonexAllEngland @bwfmedia #beyondabsurd #ridiculous,” tweeted Kashyap.