The first day of the Thailand Open saw many controversies due to COVID-19 Tests, which were followed by retests as well, but that didn’t have any detrimental effect on the Indian badminton contingent as the likes of Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth and men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty entered into the pre-quarterfinals of the Thailand Open BWF Super-1000 tournament in Bangkok on Wednesday.
However, the husband and wife pair of Sumeeth Reddy and Sikki Reddy, Sameer Verma and Saina’s husband Parupalli Kahsyap along with other doubles teams got eliminated from the tournament.
Saina defeated Kisona Selvaduray of Malaysia in straight games 21-15, 21-15.
“Yesterday I was given a positive Covid-19 result after my PCR test, but I already told them I had Covid-19 last November, so I have antibodies. I tried to explain this to the doctor after my blood tests and chest x-rays, the doctor said I was ok and do not have Covid-19. I’m thankful to the doctors, the BWF and everyone who made the decision for me to play. It was a tiring day, but I’m happy I could come back and play my match,” Saina told the BWF website.
Saina, who is ranked World No 20, will face World No.12 Busanan Ongbamrungphan of Thailand in the pre-quarters on Thursday.
As far as Men’s singles go, Srikanth went past his training partner Sourabh Verma 21-12, 21-11 in the first round. He will now be up against Zii Jia Lee of Malaysia, who defeated HS Prannoy of India 13-21 21-14 21-8.
Kashyap retired hurt after trailing in the third game against Canada’s Jason Anthony Ho-Shue 21-19, 13-21, 14-8. However, the promising doubles pair of Satwik and Chirag defeated their idols Kim Gi Jung and lee Yong Dae of Korea 19-21, 21-16, 21-14.
“When we started playing badminton we used to idolise them…we’re happy to be back after 11 months,” Chirag said.
His partner Satwik also expressed his happiness about notching up a victory against the formidable Korean pair.
“Lee Yong Dae was an idol for both of us…we’re happy to get the win. We are doing well in practice, that hunger is there. We didn’t play well last year, so that spirit, that fire is there inside, and we’re heading into the Olympics, so we want to see what the other players have worked on during the last few months,” Satwik told the BWF website.