Indian badminton youngster and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, who was recently recommended in the list of Arjuna awardees, has unfortunately tested COVID-19 positive along with two other sportspersons, and will be absent from the virtual National Sports Awards on August 29, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) confirmed on Thursday.
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy was named in the list of of the 27 athletes recommended by the sports ministry’s selection committee to be bestowed with the prestigious Arjuna award. Sadly, the doubles badminton player has contracted the novel Coronavirus, and has tested positive on Thursday, just two days ahead of the National Sports Awards, to be held virtually for the first time on 29th August.
The Sports Authority of India confirmed that there are three athletes in total who have tested COVID-19 positive, without disclosing their names. However, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy had confirmed his results ahead of SAI’s official statement.
“There are 74 awards in seven categories. Total 65 award winners will be attending the function from various locations, Nine award winners will not attend due to several reasons like being quarantined, tested positive, ill health or not in the country etc,” SAI’s official statement read.
“Three award winners after having tested positive will not attend the function,” SAI added, which includes Rankireddy.
There are no symptoms: Arjuna awardee Satwiksairaj Rankireddy tests COVID-19 positive
“It is unfortunately true. Few days back, I went for a test (antigen) and it has been five days since I have been in quarantine. I went for an RT-PCR (test) and that too came positive,” Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, who is currently in home quarantine in Amalapuram, told PTI.
“I am taking medicines. There are no symptoms, neither my parents nor any friends, none had the virus. So, I don’t know from where it has come,” the 20 year old added, who also said that his parents have tested negative.
Rankireddy clinched a gold and a silver at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, in the Mixed team and Men’s doubles events respectively.
Even though he will miss out on the virtual awards ceremony, receiving the coveted Arjuna award is motivating Rankireddy to ace at the Tokyo Olympic Games next year.
“It is a proud moment for me. It is extra special as it is my first award. This award has provided a big motivation to work towards our goal of earning a medal at Olympics,” the shutter said earlier after he was recommended.
For the first time in its history, the National Sports Awards will be hosted virtually across the various SAI centres in the country via video conference. Ram Nath Kovind, The President of India who will present the awards to the recipients, will be joining the ceremony from the President’s house.
SAI further stated that all the centres will undergo mandatory sensitisation and strict protocols will be maintained for the ceremony. Furthermore, all the awardees attending the centres will have to undergo COVID-19 testing prior to the ceremony.