B Sai Praneeth tests COVID-positive, withdrawn from Toyota Thailand Open

Sai Praneeth returned a positive PCR test and has been withdrawn as has Kidambi Srikanth, who was his roommate at the hotel in Bangkok.

By Rahul Venkat ·

India’s B Sai Praneeth has been withdrawn from the Toyota Thailand Open after testing positive for COVID-19, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) confirmed on Tuesday.

Sai Praneeth returned a positive PCR test on Monday and has been taken to a nearby hospital for observation and further testing and will be required to remain there for at least 10 days.

The BWF also confirmed that former world No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth has been placed in strict self-quarantine as he had been sharing a room with Sai Praneeth at the hotel in Bangkok. Srikanth has also been withdrawn from the tournament as a precautionary measure.

Kidambi Srikanth had returned a negative result in the daily round of COVID testing on Monday and has tested negative in every round of testing since arriving in Thailand.

World No. 13 B Sai Praneeth was due to begin his Thailand Open singles campaign on Wednesday against Malaysian Daren Liew. He had returned to competitive badminton only last week at the Yonex Thailand Open, where he fell to Kantaphon Wangcharoen in the opening round.

Meanwhile, Kidambi Srikanth had already progressed to the second round of the Toyota Thailand Open earlier on Tuesday, recording a comfortable straight games win over Sitthikom Thammasin, and was drawn to face third-seeded Dane Anders Antonsen next.

This is the second instance of a COVID case derailing the Indian badminton contingent in Thailand.

At the Yonex Thailand Open last week, Olympic medallist Saina Nehwal and compatriot HS Prannoy were initially withdrawn from the tournament after returning positive tests while Saina’s husband Parupalli Kashyap had been asked to withdraw as he had shared a room with her.

However, the trio was later allowed to participate after Saina and Prannoy returned a negative PCR test in the second round of testing.