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Sai Praneeth, Dhruv Rawat withdraw from India Open after testing positive for Covid-19

New Delhi, Jan 9 (IANS) India shuttlers B Sai Praneeth and Dhruv Rawat have withdrawn from the upcoming India Open badminton tournament, starting January 11 here, after testing positive for Covid-19, the organisers said on Sunday.

"Their (Praneeth and Dhruv) RTPCR test before travelling for Delhi has come positive," the Badminton Association of India (BAI) said in a statement.

Earlier in the day, the BAI also revealed that England's team has withdrawn from the tournament after the country's doubles specialist Sean Vendy and coach Nathan Robertson tested positive for the Covid-19, before their arrival in India.

"Entire @BadmintonEnglnd team had withdrawn two days back and they are not here in India. #YonexSunriseIndiaOpen2022 is on track and all players who were tested at the hotel this morning as per protocol have come negative," the BAI said in a tweet.

Notably, the third wave of coronavirus is currently gripping the country and cases are multiplying rapidly. However, the badminton federation said that it will not compromise on the safety of the players as well as others involved, and will be following all the Covid-19 guidelines given by the government.

"All the participating players will be taking the necessary safety precautions right from their arrival in New Delhi as per protocol and will be tested every day at the hotel and from there they will be having shuttle buses to come to the stadium, play matches, and go back to the hotel again," the BAI said.

"All the players as well as match officials, BWF and BAI officials, support staff, vendors, and others involved will have to go through a mandatory Covid test each day outside the stadium, and only after being tested negative they will be allowed inside the venue," it added.

The 10th edition of the tournament, which is being held after a gap of two years following the coronavirus outbreak in early 2020, will see participants from 19 countries across five categories vying for the prize purse.

But, no spectators will be allowed in the venue keeping in mind the Covid-19 situation in the country.

The USD 400,000 prize money Super 500 event, which will be played from January 11 to 16 at the KD Jadhav Indoor Hall at the Indira Gandhi Stadium in the national capital will also kickstart the 2022 BWF World Tour season.