The Badminton World Federation (BWF), badminton’s governing body, said that Thailand Open is still “safe to continue” despite reports of three coronavirus cases on the first two days. One Egyptian player was withdrawn and a German coach and French staff member are under hospital observation after testing positive at badminton’s restart tournament.
“The tournament has been deemed safe to continue by the Thai health authorities,” the governing body said in a statement, adding that all players tested on earlier this week were negative. Thai badminton chief Patama Leeswadtrakul said they recorded limited number of cases, and that organisers are following procedures laid down by Thailand’s health ministry.
“All in the bubble are from all over the world – we haven’t expected zero cases of COVID-19,” Patama told a news agency “We have strong intentions to make this event a success,” she said, adding that the players “still have high spirits” All players will face the next round of mandatory testing on Friday, the BWF confirmed.
There was also a report of casualties during testing, with Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth was left with a bloody nose following a test. The BWF said Badminton Association of Thailand (BAT) had explained that Srikanth’s issue arose due to his most recent test “possibly causing irritation and fragility of the capillaries”.
“When the swab was repeated on Tuesday, and factoring in the athlete’s tense nature, the position of the stick in the nasal passage was misaligned, which caused the slight bleeding noticed from the tip of the swab,” BAT added. “The COVID-19 staff member didn’t notice bleeding from the athlete’s nose and there was no complaint from Kidambi
Earlier, men’s world No. 1 from Japan Kento Momota, along with the entire Japanese contingents, also withdrew from the tournament after Momota tested positive from the COVID-19. Prior to that, China has withdrawn from the same tournaments after a surge of COVID-19 cases in the host country. The events are the last two qualifying opportunities for the World Tour Finals to be held from January 27-31.
Indonesia’s men’s doubles top seeds have also been forced to pull out of next week’s Thailand Open badminton tournament after Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo tested positive for the coronavirus, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) confirmed. Indian top-seed Lakshya Sen also pulled-out from the two monthly tournaments in Thailand due to a back strain that he sustained during training.
The rescheduled Thailand Open is one of three tournaments taking place in Thailand this month, following disruptions to the badminton world tour schedule last year. Last year, only two BWF World Tour events have been staged, the Denmark Open in Odense and the SaarLorLux Open in Saarbrücken in Germany. All of these were held behind closed doors