Badminton player N Sikki Reddy tests positive for COVID-19

N Sikki Reddy and physio Kiran Challagunda, who had joined the national camp at the Gopichand Academy, are asymptomatic.

By Subhayan Dutta

Indian women’s doubles badminton player N Sikki Reddy and team physiotherapist Kiran Challagunda are the latest from India’s sporting fraternity to test positive for COVID-19.

Earlier this week, Indian hockey players returning to the national camp in Bengaluru saw six positive cases of the novel coronavirus. This included captain Manpreet Singh.

With sporting activities gradually resuming in various states as lockdown eases in India, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) has made COVID tests mandatory for all arriving at various national camps.

Thus, all the four Olympic hopefuls - PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth, N Sikki Reddy and B Sai Praneeth – who had restarted their training at the Pullela Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad last week, had to take the test.

“SAI's mandatory COVID test was given to all athletes, coaches, support staff and administrative staff at the badminton national camp,” said national team coach Pullela Gopichand. “And two campers have tested positive for COVID-19.”

Apart from N Sikki Reddy, PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth and Sai Praneeth have also taken COVID tests.

Both N Sikki Reddy and Kiran Challagunda, are, however, asymptomatic and all their primary contacts have been traced and they have been given the RT PCR test again.

The Pullela Gopichand Academy, which is also an SAI national camp for Indian badminton players, has been closed for sanitisation purposes.

“All necessary precautions as per protocol are being taken so that players can come back for training safely and as soon as possible," Gopichand said.

Indian badminton players had returned to training after all sporting activities were suspended mid-March owing to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Telangana government had decided to allow the resumption of training in the state after sports minister V Srinivas Goud had met Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza, shuttlers N Sikki Reddy, Sai Praneeth, and B Sumeeth Reddy, and other top sports personnel.