Indian badminton players back home after SaarLorLux saga

Lakshya Sen, Ajay Jayaram and Subhankar Dey were forced to pull out of the event after Sen’s father returned a COVID-positive test.

By Rahul Venkat

Indian badminton players Lakshya Sen, Ajay Jayaram, and Subhankar Dey returned to India early on Tuesday morning after they tested COVID-negative two days back.

The trio were forced to pull out of the Super 100 SaarLorLux Open in Germany after defending champion Lakshya Sen’s father - and coach - DK Sen had tested COVID-positive a day before the tournament began last week.

Ajay Jayaram and Subhankar Dey, the 2018 SaarLorLux Open champion, were also forced to withdraw as they were in contact with the Sens.

Jayaram had beaten Maxime Moreels in his first-round match while Sen and Dey withdrew before their campaign began as they had been given a bye in the first round.

German officials had instructed the Indian badminton squad to isolate till November 10, with the Sports Authority of India (SAI) stepping in to provide help to Jayaram and Dey, who had self-funded their trips.

However, the players and DK Sen tested negative on Sunday and were allowed to take a flight back home from Frankfurt a day later. Lakshya Sen and his father flew to Bengaluru while Ajay Jayaram and Subhankar Dey flew to Delhi.

“We reached Bangalore at home this morning around 5am. We all are fine and healthy,” DK Sen told PTI.

Europe trip cut short

Lakshya Sen, Ajay Jayaram, and Subhankar Dey had all played at the BWF season-resuming Denmark Open before making the trip to Germany to play the SaarLorLux Open.

The 19-year-old Sen had planned to go back to Denmark, and possibly France, to train till the end of November. However, those plans went awry after the unfortunate COVID-positive test for DK Sen.

For Jayaram and Dey, the SaarLorLux Open presented a final opportunity to earn some crucial ranking points and prize money this year.

The next tournament that any of them can play in is in 2021 when the BWF World Tour resumes with the Asian leg in Thailand.