Despite the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic, several Indian shuttlers, including PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and Lakshya sen, last week, were participating in the prestigious All England Badminton Championships in the United Kingdom. Now, a matter of worry has risen for Indian badminton players after a news report on Friday stated that a Taiwanese athlete, who was present on the sidelines of the tournament, has tested positive for COVID-19.
A Taiwanese media report was shared by Danish shuttler Hans-Kristian Vittinghus, which said that a 10-year-old Taiwanese sports student, who is believed to be the Taiwanese national team’s sparring partner and was present at the premises of All England Badminton Championships, was tested positive for the disease on Friday. The report further stated that the diagnosed person used to take the bus with the Taiwanese national team.
Saina Nehwal took to Twitter to express her shock at the report. “No way … really really shocked,” she wrote on Twitter. Ashwini Ponappa, too, joined in on the conversation.
Shuttler HS Prannoy, too, expressed his concern, over a different tweet which said that there were three spectators at All England, who have tested positive for coronavirus.
Several Indian stars inclduing HS Prannoy, Sameer Verma and Sourabh Verma had withdrawn from the tournament due to outbreak of coronavirus pandemic, while doubles specialists Chirag Shetty, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy, had also decided against participation in the tournament.
PV Sindhu, who managed to reach the quarterfinal of the tournament, had called up Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju from the United Kingdom, seeking his suggestion on whether to continue playing in the All England Championships, before her quarters match. Rijiju said that he told her to carry on and follow the safety guidelines of that country, news agency PTI reported.
“Sindhu called me and I told her that those who are playing outside in important tournaments like the Olympic qualifications can continue to play but they should follow guidelines of those respective countries. They should also take certain safety measures,” Rijiju told the media after the General Body Meeting of the Sports Authority of India.