SAI extends help to shuttlers ensnared in German COVID protocol

Currently stuck in quarantine, Ajay Jayaram and Subhankar Dey’s expenses during their stay in Germany will be picked up by the sports body.

By Naveen Peter

The Sports Authority of India (SAI) on Thursday said it will help the two Indian badminton players held up in Germany after they were sent for self-isolation till November 10 for coming in contact with a COVID-19 positive case.

Indian shuttlers Ajay Jayaram, Subhankar Dey and Lakshya Sen had to pull out of the ongoing SaarLorLux Open Super 100 event in Saarbrücken, Germany after Lakshya’s father and coach DK Sen tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Sunday.

While the badminton players have tested negative for the virus, DK Sen continues to be asymptomatic.

Lakshya Sen and his father's expenses are covered under the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) of the Indian government, and the latest announcement has come as a relief for Jayaram and Dey.

“The Sports Authority of India will pay for the expenses that are going to be incurred by two badminton players Ajay Jayaram and Subhankar Dey for the length of their quarantine in Germany from October 30 to November 10, on humanitarian grounds,” a SAI media release on Thursday stated.

“SAI will be paying a total of Rs 1.46 lakh for their hotel stay and food expenses and will release 90 per cent of the amount immediately. SAI is in constant touch with the Indian Consulate in Frankfurt to facilitate the situation involving the two players.”

The Indian shuttlers had competed at the Denmark Open Super 750 event early this month as international badminton resumed post the COVID-19 break and were looking forward to some game time before the Asian leg of events next year. 

But with Lakshya’s father testing positive, the Badminton World Federation had to force them to withdraw from the event as per the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in place.

The latest development also means the 19-year-old Lakshya Sen will have to forgo his plans of training at the Peter Gade Academy following the SaarLorLux Open and return home post the isolation period.