Coronavirus: Prannoy, Sourabh withdraw from All England; Saina, Sindhu to play

Prannoy, Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy are among the Indian shuttlers who have withdrawn from All England Championships due to the coronavirus outbreak.

H.S. Prannoy

H.S. Prannoy has pulled out of All England championships due to concerns over the Coronavirus outbreak.   -  AFP

Indian shuttlers, including H.S. Prannoy and world no 10 men’s pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, have withdrawn from next week’s All England Championships due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus outbreak.

The season’s first World Tour Super 1000 tournament, the prestigious All England Championships, which counts towards qualification for Tokyo 2020 begins on March 11.

“Some of the players have written to BAI, informing about their decision to withdraw from the All England Championships. Top doubles pair of Shetty and Rankireddy, Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy, H S Prannoy, Sameer Verma and Sourabh Verma have so far withdrawn,” said BAI secretary Ajay Singhania.

“However, Saina Nehwal, P V Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth, Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy and Pranaav Jerry Chopra will be participating in the tournament.”

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The outbreak of COVID-19 has so far killed over 3,100 people and infected more than 91,000 globally. Chirag said players were concerned about travelling via Dubai.

“Everyone is worried about the Coronoravirus outbreak. In the United Kingdom, the number of infected has touched 90, so it is a concern. Also, we had to travel via Dubai Airport, which is one of the busiest airports, it makes one vulnerable,” Chirag said.

Chirag and Satwik had to pull out of the 2019 edition as well due to latter’s shoulder injury.

Sameer, Prannoy, Manu-Sumeeth all lost in the opening round, while Sourabh didn’t make it to the draw last year and therefore doesn’t have to defend any ranking points.

Concerns over the rapid spread of the deadly virus have already forced the postponement of four Olympic qualifying events so far -- Lingshui China Masters (February 25 to March 1), Vietnam International Challenge (24-29 March 24-29),German Open (March 3 to 8) and Polish Open (March 26-29).