Gopichand academy to reopen on Monday as Sikki, physio retests return negative

N Sikki Reddy. Robertus Pudyanto/Getty Images

Two days after two members of the national badminton camp - doubles player Sikki Reddy and physio C Kiran tested positive for Covid-19, their latest RT-PCR results have returned negative.

The SAI Pullela Gopichand academy, which had abruptly closed for sanitization after the results last week, will now reopen for training on Monday.

Following the RT-PCR tests on Tuesday for all 20-odd members, including coaches, support staff and players at the academy, Sikki and Kiran's results returned positive on Thursday. Unconvinced of the diagnosis, both visited a top private hospital in Hyderabad on Friday morning to re-undergo a RT-PCR test. They both received their results on Saturday, confirming their doubts of a possible faulty diagnosis earlier.

"I was certain that I hadn't contracted the virus," Sikki told ESPN, "It would have been hard to train for three hours every day in such a strenuous physical sport, if that was the case. My family members too are perfectly normal, I'm sure if I had it, it may have been passed on to them in some way. Once we both were informed that we had tested positive, our first instinct was to think, 'wait, this could be wrong' and since it was late that day to get a re-test done, we both decided that we should get it done first thing next morning. The latest results are a huge relief. I've spoken to Gopi sir and I can't wait to get back to training on Monday."

Sikki, though, isn't amused at the way people, at large, and social media, in particular, reacted to the news last week. "Minutes after the test results were out, people were bombarding me with messages and calls telling me I shouldn't go out or do anything. If I had felt even the slightest bit unwell, I wouldn't willfully put others at risk. I was at the academy training, not partying or hanging out with friends. Also, Gopi sir has been extra cautious. He hasn't even opened up the facility for non-Olympic bound players yet. Even my husband (doubles player Sumeeth Reddy) hasn't been able to join me at the academy. He's been looking at me going for training every morning with envy."