Men's singles top seed and World Championship silver medallist Kidambi Srikanth, along with six other players, was on Thursday forced to withdraw from the ongoing India Open badminton championship after testing positive for Covid-19.
The others who tested positive are doubles specialist Ashwini Ponnappa, Ritika Rahul Thakkar, Treesa Jolly, Mithun Manjunath, Simran Singhi and Khushi Gupta. All players have been asked to isolate as per Covid-19 protocols and they will be allowed to leave New Delhi only after returning a negative RT-PCR test.
Organisers of the BWF World Tour Super 500 championship have decided not to include replacements and go ahead with the competition, awarding walkover to their opponents.
The players had undergone the RT-PCR tests on Tuesday as per the testing protocol for the event and the Badminton World Federation (BWF) announced the results on early on Thursday morning.
"Badminton World Federation (BWF) can confirm that seven players have been withdrawn from the India Open 2022 after testing positive for Covid-19," the BWF said in a statement.
"The players returned a positive result to a mandatory RT-PCR test conducted on Tuesday. Doubles partners deemed close contact of the seven players have also been withdrawn from the tournament.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," the statement said.
"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," the statement added.
Srikanth's withdrawal from the event is a big setback for the Badminton Association of India as it was expecting to win all titles in the first event of the 2022 season. The 28-year-old from Andhra Pradesh is in great form as he had reached the final of the BWF World Championships in December.