More relieved than happy to have pulled off Indian Open: Ajay Singhania
BAI secretary general Ajay Singhania is more relieved than happy that it has successfully conducted this edition of Indian Open
Badminton Association of India secretary general Ajay Singhania is more relieved than happy that it has successfully conducted this edition of Indian Open despite being rocked by COVID-19 cases during the tournament.
The hiccups in conducting the USD 350,000 prize money event started with uncertainty over the clearance for the tournament due to escalating COVID-19 cases in Delhi at the start of the year. "By the time the tournament week started a small core group was responsible for pulling off this event and I am more relieved than happy that we pulled this off," said Singhania in a BAI release.
The India Open was held after a gap of two years following the COVID-19 outbreak in early 2020. While the first two days witnessed a smooth sailing, seven Indian players returned positive results in the mandatory RT-PCR tests, not only throwing the pre-quarterfinal schedule haywire but also leaving the officials with another task to deal with.
The said players could not stay in the official hotel after testing positive and had to be accommodated elsewhere. "Sending them to a government hospital for quarantine was risky. But thankfully we somehow managed to convince a city hotel while most refused to host these players," Singhania added. The other major area of concern for BAI was hunting for a host broadcaster in a short span of time as the previous contract had expired.
"Sony came on board to show the matches and we are grateful to them. It was a touch and go situation but things fell in place even if last minute," he said. The action will now move to Lucknow for the Syed Modi International next week and then the Odisha Open. BAI is confident that the three-event Indian circuit would provide the perfect start to the new international badminton season despite the challenges of COVID-19 in the country.