All England Open: Indonesia squad withdraw from competition

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter
Indonesia's Jonatan Christie
Indonesia's Jonatan Christie was due to play Thailand's Sitthikom Thammasin in the last 16 on Friday
2021 All England Open Badminton Championships
Venue: Utilita Arena, Birmingham Dates: 17-21 March
Coverage: Watch live coverage on the BBC Red Button, iPlayer & BBC Sport website and app from 17 March

Indonesia's badminton squad as well as Turkey's Nesilhan Yigit have been forced to withdraw from the All England Open after being contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service.

The withdrawal follows a positive test for a passenger who was on board their flight to the UK for the tournament which began in Birmingham on Wednesday.

Among those out are the current men's doubles world champions Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan and women's doubles Olympic bronze medal-winning duo Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu.

The sport's international federation (BWF) and Badminton England say they made "impassioned attempts" to gain exemptions for the players.

However, they discovered the UK Government's legislation regarding self-isolation periods was "non-negotiable".

Men's top seeds Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo defeated England's Matthew Clare and Ethan van Leeuwen in the opening round, but the result will remain unchanged.

As with all instances of an Indonesian player or pair winning a match prior to the withdrawal, their next scheduled opponent will now receive a walkover and advance to the next round.

Zainudin Amali, Indonesia's sports minister, has asked the BWF to investigate the matter and suggested the decision to exclude the team is "unfair".

"It wasn't their fault, but they're bearing the brunt," he said.

"I urge the (Indonesia badminton) association to take measures to question BWF and its Asia federation so that people know that we won't stand for it. We feel the injustice in our players."

Badminton England said in a statement: "We sympathise greatly with what has happened and apologise for the inconvenience caused to the Indonesian players and team entourage, and Yigit from Turkey.

"We are doing the best we can within our powers, including to continue to provide a safe environment for all participants."

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