New Delhi: India shuttlers, including London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal, expressed shock after reports emerged that a sparring partner of the Taiwanese national team, who was in Birmingham during the All England Championship, tested positive for the Coronavirus.
Former top 10 player HK Vittinghus of Denmark on Friday shared a Taiwanese media report that a 10-year-old sports student, who was at the All England Championship, was diagnosed positive for COVID-19.
Reports said that the teenager was a sparring partner of Taiwanese badminton team and he is believed to have travelled in the team bus between hotel and the arena during the All England Championship.
The top Indian shuttlers, including Saina and P V Sindhu, had participated in the tournament which was held from March 11 to 15.
“No way … really really shocked,” Saina wrote on her Twitter handle, reacting to the report.
India’s doubles exponent Ashwini Ponappa, who was also in Birmingham for the USD 1,00,000 tournament, too expressed concern.
“Oh no,” she tweeted.
Parupalli Kashyap and Ajay Jayaram also expressed concern at the report.
Indian shuttlers, including H S Prannoy and world no 10 Chirag Shetty, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, had pulled out of the All England Open championship owing to the coronavirus outbreak.
Verma brothers — Sourabh and Sameer – are the other men’s singles players who withdrew, while men’s doubles pair of Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy had also opted out.
Players, including Saina, Kashyap and Ashwini, had later slammed the Badminton World Federation (BWF) for continuing the Championship, saying their safety was compromised for financial gains.
Chief national coach Pullela Gopichand had also said it was wrong on BWF’s part to put the players at risk. All the India players returning from Birmingham are currently in self isolation.