11 July 2024

Indonesia’s men’s doubles top seeds have been forced to pull out of next week’s Thailand Open badminton after one of them, Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo, tested positive for coronavirus, the Badminton World Federation said.

The withdrawal of Sukamuljo and Marcus Fernaldi Gideon, affectionately known as the “Minions”, is the latest loss for badminton’s restart tournament, which is already missing the star-studded Chinese and Japanese teams over coronavirus concerns.

Sukamuljo developed coronavirus symptoms last month including a loss of taste and smell and a mild flu, according to the BWF website.

After testing positive he has been recovering in isolation at his home.

“Thank you for your prayers and support, I hope I can recover quickly and be able to train again as before,” Sukamuljo said.

“This is also a lesson for me to always be vigilant in the future.”

The Thailand Open is the first of three tournaments scheduled to take place in Bangkok in consecutive weeks, kick-starting the world tour after a coronavirus-ravaged 2020.

However, heavyweights China withdrew when coronavirus rules prevented them from leaving the country, and Japan were forced out after men’s world number one Kento Momota tested positive before departure.

On Wednesday the BWF said all 824 people including players, coaches and umpires, living in “bubble” conditions in Bangkok, have tested negative and were cleared to train under strict safety protocols.