BANGKOK: New coronavirus tests cleared former badminton No. 1 Saina Nehwal to play in the Thailand Open and sent an Egyptian player to hospital isolation, instead, on Tuesday.
Nehwal, fellow Indian player HS Prannoy, Jones Ralfy Jansen of Germany, and Adham Hatem Elgamal of Egypt were positive from tests on Monday. But retesting the samples early Tuesday cleared all but Nehwal, whose scheduled first-round opponent was given a walkover win.
Nehwal and Prannoy were taken to hospital and Nehwal’s husband, Parupalli Kashyap, was told to isolate because they shared a hotel room. His first-round match was also forfeited.
But another round of swab and anti-body tests later Tuesday revealed Nehwal, Prannoy and Jansen were positive to both. However, the Thailand Ministry of Public Health cleared them because it decided the trio contracted the coronavirus late last year but was not currently infected.
Elgamal, however, tested positive on the swab and negative on anti-bodies, and Thai officials advised he be withdrawn. The mixed doubles player was taken to hospital for more tests and his match postponed. His partner Doha Hany was told to isolate and the Egypt team considered high risk.
The Badminton World Federation said the first-round matches involving Nehwal, Prannoy, and Kashyap were postponed to Wednesday.
The first tour event since October begins a three-tournament Asian leg in Bangkok this month including the delayed 2020 World Tour Finals.
The Japan team pulled out after mens No. 1 Kento Momota tested positive in pre-departure tests in Tokyo this month. China is also not competing.
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