Seven Indian players have withdrawn from the All England Championships due to fears surrounding the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Satwikairaj Rankireddy, Chirag Shetty, Manu Attri, Sumeeth B Reddy, HS Prannoy, Sameer Verma and Sourabh Verma have so far withdrawn, Badminton Association of India (BAI) secretary Ajay Singhania confirmed.
However, PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Srikanth Kidambi, Ashwini Ponnappa, Sikki Reddy and Pranaav Jerry Chopra will still be participating in the tournament according to The New Indian Express.
Many players including Shetty and Rankireddy have even left the training centre at the Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy located in Hyderabad after a positive case of the Covid-19 was reported in the city.
“Everyone is worried about the Coronoravirus outbreak. In the United Kingdom, the number of infected has touched 90, so it is a concern. Also, we had to travel via Dubai Airport, which is one of the busiest airports, it makes one vulnerable,” Chirag Shetty said.
A balance between risk and award
- Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy have already sealed their qualification spot for the Olympics. It impossible for Manu Atrri and Sumeeth Reddy to catch up. All four players have withdrawn.
- PV Sindhu (currently qualified) and Saina Nehwal (currently unqualified) are in the borderlines of the cut off for the Olympic Qualification rankings. A few tournaments can change their statuses very easily – make both the players qualified or make Saina qualify instead of Sindhu.
- The same is true for Srikanth Kidambi. A good performance at the All England might see him push up to the group of qualified players.
- Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy can still qualify for the Olympics with 2-3 good tournament results. It may be noted that Sikki’s husband Sumeeth Reddy chose to stay back in India.
- HS Prannoy, brothers Sameer and Sourabh seem to have given up on the hopes of qualifying for the Olympic. Prannoy’s best result in the last twelve months is a quarter-final appearance from the 2019 India Open.