Saina Nehwal tests positive for COVID-19
Saina Nehwal tests positive for COVID-19

Bangkok: Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal and badminton player HS Prannoy have tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of Yonex Thailand Open Super 1000 tournament starting on Tuesday.

Both players, who were competing in the Thailand Open, have been taken to the hospital for further tests.

A walkover was given to Kisona Selvaduray of Malaysia, who was to play her first-round match of the Thailand Open against Saina on Tuesday.

As a result, Selvaduray moved to the second round of the tournament without competing in the first round. Meanwhile, Saina's husband Parupalli Kashyap has also been taken to hospital but his report status is not yet confirmed.

"Saina Nehwal and HS Prannoy tested positive for COVID. They have been taken to the hospital. P Kashyap has also been taken to hospital but his report status is not confirmed yet," sources told ANI.

Incidently, Saina had contracted COVID-19 last year and recovered from the disease in December.

Last week, Saina had raised concerns over the fitness of the athletes after physios and trainers were restricted from meeting the badminton players during the entirety of their Thailand tour.

Having undergone coronavirus tests, Saina had asked Badminton World Federation (BWF), to sort the mess as this was impacting the performance of the players on the court.

Olympic hopefuls Saina was looking to return to competitive action with the Thailand Open after months of disruption due to COVID-19 pandemic. PV Sindhu, who has been training in London for the last two months, was also set to return to court.

Sindhu and Saina didn't participate in Denmark Open Super 750 and SaarLorLux Super 100 -- the only two events which could be conducted after BWF was forced to suspend the calender at the end of the All England Championships in March.

The Asia leg also comprises Toyota Thailand Open (January 19-24) and HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2020 (27-31 January), which will conclude the coronavirus-hit 2020 season.

One factor that will boost the chances of Indian shuttlers is the absence of the formidable Japanese and Chinese shuttlers who pulled out of the Asia legs.

While China had withdrawn after a surge of COVID-19 cases in Thailand, Japan pulled out at the last minute after world no.1 Kento Momota tested positive for COVID-19.

(With agencies)

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