World champion P V Sindhu suffered a shock defeat on her return to international badminton, losing in three games to Denmark's Mia Blichfeldt in the opening round of YONEX Thailand Open Super 1000 event here on Tuesday.
Months after the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted the international calendar, Sindhu, seeded sixth, returned to action with a 21-16, 24-26, 13-21 defeat to world No. 18 Blichfeldt in a 74-minute battle.
In the men's singles, world No. 13 B Sai Praneeth too suffered a straight game loss to Thailand's Kantaphon Wangcharoen on his return to competition.
Frontrunner to represent India at the Olympics, Praneeth went down 16-21, 10-21 to the world No. 15 Wangcharoen for only his second loss to the Thailand player.
Earlier in the day, the Indian mixed doubles pair of Satwik and Ashwini claimed a 21-11, 27-29, 21-16 win over the Indonesian pair of Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Widjaja. Ashwini paired up with Sikki Reddy went down 16-21 7-21 against the fourth-seeded Korean pair Kim so Yeong & Kong Hee yong.
No coaches, managers or other personnel are allowed to attend the matches of the Indian players after Saina and HS Prannoy tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday.
In the meanwhile, India badminton star Kidambi Srikanth on Tuesday alleged poor treatment from the health officials at the Thailand Open in Bangkok.
In a tweet that he shared on Tuesday, he showed a bleeding nose and said that he has taken 4 Covid-19 tests and the experience has never been pleasant.
“We take care of ourselves for the match not to come and shed blood for THIS . However , I gave 4 tests after I have arrived and I can’t say any of them have been pleasant. Unacceptable,” Kidambi Srikanth said.
Saina Nehwal and HS Pranoy both return NEGATIVE results after a retest is conducted.
Both will play their first round matches tomorrow.
— GoBadminton (@gobadminton) January 12, 2021
The Indian contingent in Bangkok had been linked with cases of Covid-19 as the BWF on Tuesday said that Saina Nehwal tested positive for the virus. It has earlier also said that HS Prannoy tested positive, but this was later retracted and updated to confirm that he has tested negative. Later it was confirmed Saina had also been tested negative. Saina, Prannoy and Parupalli Kashyap will open their tournaments on Wednesday.