Shuttlers return from Germany

New Delhi, November 3

Forced to pull out of the SaarLorLux Open in Germany and stay in quarantine there because of Covid-19 fears, an Indian badminton contingent today returned to the country after testing negative for the virus.

Lakshya Sen’s dreams of defending the title had come crashing down when he had to withdraw from the tournament after his father-cum-coach DK Sen tested positive for Covid-19. He, however, had no symptoms.

Two other Indian shuttlers — former world No. 13 Ajay Jayaram and 2018 winner Subhankar Dey — also had to withdraw because they had come in contact with DK Sen.

Lakshya, Jayaram, Dey and physio Abhishek Wagh had tested negative ahead of the tournament.

The Indian contingent, however, had to spend five days in quarantine before fresh test results found them to be negative, clearing their return to the country.

“We reached Bangalore at home this morning around 5am. We all are fine and healthy,” DK Sen told PTI. “We were in quarantine since my first test came positive. The German official did the second Covid test for all five of us on November 1 and thankfully the reports came negative, so we immediately returned home.”

While Lakshya, his father and Wagh reached Bengaluru, Dey and Jayaram took a flight from Frankfurt to Delhi.

Earlier, Jayaram had asked for help from Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju, the Badminton Association of India and the international federation (BWF), saying that the organisers had not given them any information or assistance apart from asking them to isolate.

The Sports Authority of India assured that it would pay for the expenses incurred by the players “for the length of their quarantine in Germany from October 30 to November 10, on humanitarian grounds.” — PTI

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