In an unprecedented move, Indian badminton star Kidambi Srikanth's opponent Lee Zii Jia has been handed a walkover in the Thailand Open Badminton 2021 competition on Thursday. The ace Indian shuttler had defeated Indian compatriot Sourabh Verma in the first round and was set to face Malaysian Badminton star Lee Zii Jia. The reason for the walkover is now out in the open.
Srikanth was off to a scintillating start in the competition with a convincing victory against Verma in the first round. Verma failed to survive the tactical genius of Srikanth, who left no space for his opponent to make his way back into the game. Thus Verma ended up losing out the game 21-12, 21-11 in two consecutive sets.
Srikanth's second-round opponent Lee Zii Jia made his way past the first round after a brilliant opening clash against HS Prannoy. The Malaysian shuttler knocked out Prannoy, winning the game 21-13, 14-21, 8-21 in three sets. Jia and Srikanth were to clash off on Thursday but the Malaysian has been handed a walkover into the next round.
Srikanth took to Twitter to confirm that he had to pull out of the tournament after he sustained a right calf muscle pull. However, he hopes to be fit by next week for the next round of the Thailand leg. Ironically, it was revealed that the shuttler suffered from nose bleeding on Tuesday following the mandatory PCR test. The Badminton World Federation (BWF) released an official statement to provide its version of the incident.
Very sad to let you all know that I have been advised to pull out of Thailand Open due to a calf muscle strain. I am hoping to be fit by next week for the next round of the Thailand leg. pic.twitter.com/jXTr4P25QF— Kidambi Srikanth (@srikidambi) January 14, 2021
"The athlete had been swabbed three times earlier with the most recent one possibly causing irritation and fragility of the capillaries. Therefore, when the swab was repeated on Tuesday, and factoring in the athlete’s tense nature, the position of the stick in the nasal passage was misaligned, which caused the slight bleeding noticed from the tip of the swab."
The statement also claimed there was no bleeding at the time of the PCR test, but blood was reported by other Indian participants at least three to five minutes later. "It is not known whether the athlete had blown his nose or stuck tissue up his nostrils which could have caused more blood vessels to rupture."
The Thailand Open Badminton live stream is being provided on Disney+ Hotstar VIP. Besides, Star Sports Network has been mandated with the tournament's official broadcast in India. The games will be broadcasted live on Star Sports 3 and Star Sports 2 HD TV channels.