Start of All England Open delayed due to 'inconclusive' COVID-19 tests

The start of the All England Open has been delayed by five hours following a "significant number" of inconclusive COVID-19 test results. Press Association

The start of the Yonex All England Open Badminton Championships in Birmingham on Wednesday has been delayed by five hours following a "significant number" of inconclusive COVID-19 test results, the organisers announced.

A joint statement issued by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) and Badminton England read, "Can confirm that a significant number of COVID-19 tests conducted for participating teams at the YONEX All England Open Badminton Championships 2021 were deemed 'inconclusive' and as a result, the samples will be rerun. BWF can also confirm that a small number of positive tests were recorded, and in agreement with Public Health England, these cases will be retested. These cases will continue to self-isolate while they are retested.

"As a result, play will now commence at 2PM GMT on Wednesday 17 March 2021."

The prestigious Super 1000 tournament, which is not part of the revised Olympic qualification window that runs till June 15, was earlier scheduled to start at 9AM GMT on Wednesday. In addition, BWF has yet to announce the order of play for Wednesday. On Tuesday, Saina Nehwal and Parupalli Kashyap tweeted about the tournament.

The statement added that Badminton England and the BWF will continue to implement all testing protocols required by the UK Government and Public Health England to ensure the health and safety of all participants.

The All England Championships was the final event on the BWF calendar to be played last year before all sporting activities came to a halt because of the pandemic. International badminton restarted in October in Denmark before it was suspended again until January, when three tournaments, including the World Tour Finals, were staged in a bio-secure environment in Thailand.