Indian shuttlers Saina Nehwal and H.S. Prannoy were cleared to play in the Thailand Open after they tested negative for COVID-19, invalidating their previous positive results that had forced them out of the tournament hours earlier on a chaotic Tuesday.
Both the Badminton World Federation (BWF) and Badminton Association of India (BAI) confirmed the development.
“BAI took up the matter with top BWF officials to make sure that if the tests were negative, the players’ matches were rescheduled and no walkover was given.” said a BAI statement.
“After continuous efforts from BAI, including doctors being sent immediately when K. Srikanth started bleeding, were taken up. BWF and Badminton Thailand were cooperative, and BAI thanks all the stakeholders for their support.”
Earlier in the day, chaos gripped India’s campaign when Saina was forced out following a positive COVID-19 test, while Prannoy’s participation hung in the balance after his sample came out negative following a positive result in a bizarre turn of events.
P. Kashyap, too, had been forced to withdraw “due to close proximity” with wife Saina. His participation will now depend on the result of another test.
Sai Praneeth loses
Meanwhile, on court, Denmark's Mia Blichfeldt shocked Rio Olympics silver medallist P.V. Sindhu 16-21, 26-24, 21-13 in the opening round. Sindhu, seeded sixth, lost to the World No. 18 in a 74-minute battle.
In men's singles, World No. 13 B. Sai Praneeth lost 21-16, 21-10 to Thailand's Kantaphon Wangcharoen.
The Indian mixed doubles pair of Satwik and Ashwini got the better of the Indonesia’s Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Widjaja 21-11, 27-29, 21-16.
The results (first round):
Men: Kantaphon Wangcharoen bt Sai Praneeth 21-16, 21-10.
Women: Mia Blichfeldt bt P.V. Sindhu 16-21, 26-24, 21-13.
Doubles: So Yong Kim & Hee Yong Kong (Kor) bt Ashwini Ponnappa & Sikki Reddy 21-16, 21-7.
Mixed doubles: Satwik Sairaj & Ashwini bt Hafiz Faizal & Gloria Widjaja 21-11, 27-29, 21-16.