Thai Open: BWF reschedules Kisona’s match after Saina Nehwal cleared of Covid-19

Indian player Saina Nehwal tested positive for Covid-19 yesterday. ― Reuters pic
Indian player Saina Nehwal tested positive for Covid-19 yesterday. ― Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 13 ― The Badminton World Federation (BWF) has now reversed its decision on the Yonex Thailand Open opening round match between national women’s singles shuttler S. Kisona and Indian player Saina Nehwal, who was tested positive for Covid-19 yesterday.

The sport’s international governing body, which had declared a walkover for Kisona yesterday, now cleared Saina for the match after further tests found the Olympics and World Championship medallist and her husband Parupalli Kashyap are free of infection.

Both women’s singles and men’s singles matches involving the couple which were supposed to be held yesterday have been rescheduled to today evening at the Impact Arena, Bangkok.

BWF in a statement late last night said three of the four players tested positive yesterday ― Saina, HS Prannoy (India) and Jones Ralfy Jansen (Germany) ― have been cleared for the tournament.

Egyptian Adham Hatem Elgamal however, had to withdraw.

“Nehwal, Prannoy and Jansen tested positive on the Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test but their antibody Immunoglobulin G (IgG) was positive. A positive antibody test means a person has been infected with the Covid-19 virus at some point in the past.

“It does not mean they are currently infected. The trio all contracted Covid-19 in late 2020. The committee was satisfied that they are not infected and do not pose a danger to the tournament.

“Elgamal was tested positive on the PCR test but his antibody IgG was negative, which indicates that he has no antibodies for the virus. Elgamal had not contracted Covid-19 before. The committee has advised for the player to be withdrawn,” according to the statement.

BWF said it received the results and reasoned decisions from the Diagnosis and Investigation Committee of the Thailand Ministry of Public Health ― a working group of six doctors that has been formed just for the tournament.

All the players declared free of the virus in the first two tests held since their arrival in Bangkok for the Asian Leg of tournaments consists of the Yonex Thailand Open from January 12-17, followed by the Toyota Thailand Open from January 19-24 and the World Tour Finals from January 27-31.

Meanwhile, Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) through a Facebook post, expressed dissatisfaction in the manner the BWF handles the situation during the much-anticipated return of international badminton competitions.

“BAM wishes to put on record of the Association’s displeasure in the manner of how the BWF is handling certain matters in Bangkok. We note that the uncertainty of a retraction of a walkover decision compounded with the unfortunate timing of receiving such decision certainly won’t augur well for the much-anticipated return of the sport of badminton.

“While we are pleased that some of these players have re-tested negative, it is, however, unjust to any player to be asked to participate in the first round again, especially after a decision to give a walkover was published in the official website,” it said. ― Bernama

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