New Delhi: Two more players have withdrawn from the ongoing 2022 India Open badminton tournament ahead of their semifinal clash, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) confirmed on Saturday.
Second-seeded Russian mixed doubles player Rodion Alimov tested positive for the virus and has withdrawn from the event. His mixed doubles partner Alina Davletova has also withdrawn after being identified as a close contact.
Though, world’s badminton governing body didn’t disclose the identity of players, Alimov himself confirmed the development via his Instagram account.
“Positive test COVID-19 I am very sorry that you will not see tomorrow in the semi-final,” he wrote on Instagram late Friday night along with the picture featuring him and his partner.
As a result, their opponents qualified for the mixed doubles final after getting a walkover.
“Badminton World Federation (BWF) can confirm that one player from the current draw has tested positive for COVID-19 and has been withdrawn from the YONEX-SUNRISE India Open 2022,” the BWF said in a statement.
“The player returned a positive result to a mandatory RT-PCR test conducted on Friday. His doubles partner has been identified as a close contact and has also been withdrawn from the tournament. Their opponents will be given a walkover to the final,” it added.
On January 12, as many as seven Indian shuttlers, including reigning world championship silver medallist Kidambi Srikanth, were withdrawn from the event due to the same reason. Apart from Srikanth, the other players withdrawn were, Ashwini Ponnappa, Ritika Rahul Thkar, Treesa Jolly, Mithun Manjunath, Simran Aman Singh and Khushi Gupta.
Notably, India’s B Sai Praneeth, doubles specialists Manu Attri and Dhruv Rawat had also tested positive for the virus ahead of their departure for the national capital and had pulled out before the start of the tournament.
The entire England badminton contingent had also withdrawn ahead of the Super 500 event after the country’s doubles specialist Sean Vendy and coach Nathan Robertson tested positive for the virus.
The 2022 edition of India Open, organised by the Badminton Association of India (BAI), is being held behind closed doors at the Indira Gandhi Stadium’s KD Jadhav Indoor Hall.
The testing protocols have been implemented in accordance with BWF and BAI guidelines and players are being tested everyday at the hotel and outside the stadium in order to ensure their health and safety.
The competition will continue with the semifinal clashes on Saturday.