The Coronavirus outbreak seems to be getting out of control as India’s top shuttlers, including HS Prannoy, Sameer Verma and world no 10 men’s pairing of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, have withdrawn from the prestigious All England Championships. The season’s first World Tour Super 1000 tournament, the All England Championships, counts towards qualification for Tokyo 2020 which begins in July this year. All England Championships will begin on March 11 in Birmingham. Also Read - Badminton | PV Sindhu Needs to Give More Attention to Recovery Between Matches to Win Medal at Tokyo Olympics: Vimal Kumar
“Some of the players have written to BAI, informing about their decision to withdraw from the All England Championships. Top doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy, HS Prannoy, Sameer Verma and Sourabh Verma have so far withdrawn,” BAI secretary Ajay Singhania was quoted by PTI. Also Read - Badminton: Saina Nehwal Enters Semifinals of Orleans Masters 2021; Ashwini Ponnappa-N. Sikki Reddy Also Reach Last Four
“However, Saina Nehwal, P V Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth, Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy and Pranaav Jerry Chopra will be participating in the tournament.” Also Read - Orleans Masters: Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth Make Winning Starts
The outbreak of COVID-19 has so far killed over 3,100 people and infected more than 91,000 globally.
Chirag said players were concerned about travelling via Dubai.
“Everyone is worried about the Coronoravirus outbreak. In 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 said.
Chirag and Satwik had to pull out of the 2019 edition as well due to latter’s shoulder injury.
Sameer, Prannoy, Manu-Sumeeth all lost in the opening round, while Sourabh didn’t make it to the draw last year and therefore doesn’t have to defend any ranking points.
In a statement released by Badminton England this week, chief executive Adrian Christy said Badminton England is continuing to monitor the ongoing situation regarding the Covid-19.
“But based on up-to-date government advice and the publication of the government’s Coronavirus Action Plan, we will be going ahead with the All England Open at Arena Birmingham on March 11-15 as planned.
The Coronavirus has wreaked havoc on the international calender of various sports across the globe.
Concerns over the rapid spread of the deadly virus has already forced the postponement of the four Olympic qualifying events so far — Lingshui China Masters (February 25 to March 1), Vietnam International Challenge (24-29 March 24-29) and German Open (March 3 to 8) and Polish Open (March 26-29).
(With PTI Inputs)