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Japanese pull out of Thailand Open after world No. 1 Momota tests positive for Covid-19

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Japanese badminton players have withdrawn from three BWF events in Thailand after world No. 1 Kento Momota tested positive for Covid-19 at Narita Airport on Sunday.

The two-time world champion was scheduled to compete in two Thailand Open series events between January 12-17 and January 19-24, each with a US$1-million prize money, followed by the US$1.5-million World Tour Finals from January 27-31 in Nonthaburi province.

According to Badminton Association of Thailand president Khunying Patama Leeswadtrakul, the 26-year-old Japanese had trained with his teammates in Tokyo on Saturday, prompting the entire team to cancel their trip to Bangkok.

“On behalf of the organisers, I deeply appreciate the decision of the Japanese team to withdraw from the competition over health concerns for other participants. I wish all members of the Japanese team strong health and safety and hope to see them back on courts the soonest,” said Patama.

The absence of the Japanese is a further setback to the tournaments after badminton powerhouse China had announced their withdrawal last week as they were prohibited from overseas travel by their government.

The three BWF events in Thailand will be organised under a bubble quarantine policy. Players and their entourage are required to be only in restricted areas starting Monday throughout their stay in the Kingdom.

Players on the alternate list will be invited to compete in place of the Japanese team.

Published : January 04, 2021

By : THE NATION