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Seven Players Test Positive for Covid-19, Several Withdrawn from Tournament

India Open 2022, taking place in New Delhi, had seven players testing positive for coronavirus and all of them were withdrawn from the tournament, Badminton World Federation (BWF) announced on Thursday. India is currently seeing a rapid increase in the number of Covid-19 cases everyday with the Omicron variant wrecking havoc. Delhi in particular is recording over 20,000 cases everyday.

BWF, in its press statement, confirmed that all the players and staff underwent a mandatory RT-PCR test. Following their results on Tuesday, the seven who tested positive and the doubles partners, who were deemed their close contacts, were all withdrawn from the tournament.

“The players will not be replaced in the main draw and their opponents will be given a walkover to the next round,” BWF announced.

“Testing protocols have been implemented in accordance with Badminton World Federation and Badminton Association of India guidelines to ensure the health and safety of all participants,” it added.

The tournament began on Tuesday with India’s big names all making it to the second round without much hassle. Assamese Ashmita Chaliha scored an upset win over fifth seed and world No.28 Evgeniya Kosetskaya of Russia, when she beat her 24-22, 21-16 in the opening round.

“I haven’t played a lot of matches in the last few years. So, I was nervous and that affected me midway in the opening game. But once I won the first game, I was more confident and so I was relaxed in the second game,” she said after the match.

PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth also eased into the second round. Srikanth packed off former junior world No. 1 Siril Verma 21-17, 21-10 while Sindhu hardly broke any sweat during her 21-5, 21-16 win over compatriot Sri Krishna Priya Kudaravalli in just under half an hour.

On day 2 of the tournament, Saina Nehwal survived a scare as her opponent Czech Republic’s Tereza Svabikova retired at the start of the second game after losing the first 20-22.

HS Prannoy registered an easy 21-14, 21-7 win over Spaniard Pablo Abian to make the second round.

The second round of the tournament commences on Thursday.

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