Ajay Jayaram, Shubhankar Dey out of SaarLorLux Open; in isolation amid COVID scare

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Saarbrucken (Germany), Oct 29 (PTI) Indian shuttlers Ajay Jayaram and Shubhankar Dey were on Thursday forced out of the SaarLorLux Open after being put in isolation owing to contact with COVID positive father-cum-coach of defending champion Lakshya Sen, who has already withdrawn.

The 19-year-old Lakshya withdrew on Wednesday after his father D K Sen returned a positive test for the dreaded virus. D K Sen is asymptomatic at this point.

'BWF can confirm three players have been withdrawn from the SaarLorLux Open 2020 as a precautionary measure for all participants after they were in contact with a member of their team entourage who tested positive for COVID-19,' the Badminton World Federation said in a statement.

'The three players: Lakshya Sen, Ajay Jayaram and Subhankar Dey will not compete further in the tournament, which began on Tuesday,' it added.

Later, Jayaram, in a Twitter post tagging sports minister Kiren Rijiju, the national badminton federation and BWF, said that he and Dey would like to return to India as the organisers have not given them any information or assistance apart from asking them to isolate.

'Owing to one of the players failing to follow the COVID protocol and the organisers failing to enforce the protocols set in place, I and Shubhankar have found ourselves in an unfortunate situation...,' he wrote without specifying the lapse on part the player concerned and the organisers.

'We have currently been asked to isolate with absolutely no other information from the organisers including our meals.

'We have our COVID negative certificates, and have NO symptoms. We are unable to contact the German local authorities. We would like to know if it is possible for us to get tested here again and come back to india,' he added.

Dey also demanded compensation for the ordeal.

'Requesting authorities to compensate us while also allowing us to return to India,' he tweeted.

The Sports Authority of India (SAI) assured that it will pay for the expenses to be incurred by the two players 'for the length of their quarantine in Germany from October 30 to November 10, on humanitarian grounds.' 'SAI will be paying a total of Rs. 1.46 lakh for their hotel stay and food expenses and will release 90 percent of the amount immediately,' SAI said in a statement.

Jayaram said repeated attempts to get a word from the organisers have proved futile so far.

Lakshya, Jayaram and Dey had tested negative ahead of the tournament.

Lakshya, who claimed five titles in the senior circuit last year including two BWF World Tour Super 100 top honours SaarLorLux Open and Dutch Open, received a bye in the opening round along with Dey.

Jayaram had won his opening-round clash on Monday.

With Thursday's development, India's challenge came to an end at the tournament.

The world calendar has been severely curtailed this year because of the pandemic and after a seven-month shutdown, it restarted with the Denmark Open earlier this month. PTI PM AH