The Indian badminton contingent, that was stuck in Germany, returned home on Tuesday after testing negative for the dreaded coronavirus for the second time. The second round of tests was conducted by the German authorities on November 1. Three shuttlers, including Lakshya Sen, were part of the contingent. Defending Champion Lakshya had to withdraw from SaarLorLux Open in Saarbrucken after his father-cum-coach D K Sen returned a positive test for the virus. Former world number 13 Ajay Jayaram and 2018 winner Subhankar Dey were also forced to pull out of the Super 100 event and put in isolation owing to contact with senior Sen. Lakshya, Jayaram, Dey and physio Abhishek Wagh had tested negative ahead of the tournament.
While Lakshya, his father and physio reached Bangalore, Dey and Jayaram took a flight from Frankfurt to Delhi “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 DK Sen was asked to stay in isolation till November 6, the rest of them were asked to undergo a mandatory quarantine till November 9.
Jayaram had asked for help from sports minister Kiren Rijiju, the national badminton federation and BWF, saying that the organisers had not given them any information or assistance apart from asking them to isolate. Dey too had demanded compensation for the ordeal in his social media post.
The Sports Authority of India (SAI) then assured that it will pay for the expenses to be incurred by the two players “for the length of their quarantine in Germany from October 30 to November 10, on humanitarian grounds.” Lakshya, who claimed five titles in the senior circuit last year including two BWF World Tour Super 100 top honours — SaarLorLux Open and Dutch Open — had received a bye in the opening round of the event along with Dey.
Jayaram, however, had won his opening-round clash but the positive test of D K sen brought an unfortunate end to India’s campaign at the tournament. The world calendar has been severely curtailed this year because of the pandemic and after a seven-month shutdown, it restarted with the Denmark Open earlier this month. The next tournament will be the Asia leg and World Tour Final in January next year.
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