A topsy-turvy start

Make us proud: Soniia Cheah is one of the women’s singles shuttler competing at the All-England.

PETALING JAYA: What a chaotic start to the 111th edition of the All-England.

The opening day of the tournament was marred by fixtures delay after a “significant number” of pre-tournament Covid-19 tests conducted were deemed “inconclusive” which needed retesting.

There were positive cases involving players and officials from Malaysia, India, Denmark and Thailand – but bizarrely these cases returned negative after the samples were rerun.

This is not the first time as a similar fiasco happened during the three back-to-back World Tour events in Bangkok which involved players such as India’s Saina Nehwal and H.S. Prannoy.

Some of the Malaysians who travelled from Basel, Switzerland, boarded the same plane as the Indian team.

A total of 80 first-round matches were slated to run from 9am (5pm Malaysian time) but were rescheduled to start only at 2pm (8pm Malaysian time). The order of play wasn’t published until hours before the matches.

“Someone from the Malaysian team tested positive but it’s not appropriate for me to reveal who, ” said a source who wished to remain anonymous.

“We were supposed to test the court at the venue yesterday (Tuesday), only to be told that we have to isolate ourselves in the hotel room because there’s a positive case.

“In the end, everyone has been given the all-clear. We haven’t stepped out of our room since Monday and only get to train for 25 minutes at the venue this morning (yesterday).

“It’s not going to be a fair tournament... players from unaffected teams such as Indonesia and Japan have been training every day.”

The Badminton Association of Malaysia coaching director Wong Choong Hann, when contacted yesterday, confirmed that all 22 Malaysian players have been cleared to participate.

The players competing are Lee Zii Jia and Liew Daren in the men’s singles; Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong, Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi and Low Hang Yee-Ng Eng Cheong (men’s doubles); Soniia Cheah and S. Kisona (women’s singles); Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah (women’s doubles); Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying, Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie, Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing, Hoo Pang Ron-Cheah Yee See and Chen Tang Jie-Peck Yen Wei (mixed doubles).

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Badminton , All England 2021


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