AUCKLAND, May 4 — New Zealand have pulled out of the Thomas Cup after their team for the men’s badminton championship was “severely depleted” by positive Covid-19 tests, prompting the sport’s global governing body to replace them with the United States.
Badminton New Zealand said on Wednesday several players had tested positive during the April 28-May 1 Oceania Championships in Melbourne and in the subsequent days following the event.
“This has resulted in a severely depleted team, with the possibility of additional positive cases detected upon arrival in Thailand,” it said in a statement.
“The difficult decision to withdraw the team was made, considering all factors and putting player welfare at the forefront of our thinking.
“We are focused on supporting the remaining New Zealand players in Australia and getting them home safely, as soon as possible.”
The event starts in Thailand on Sunday.
The governing Badminton World Federation (BWF) said no other Oceania member association was able to take the continental quota place, while the countries next in line in the rankings also declined.
“Team USA confirmed their participation and will take their place in Group D alongside Japan, Malaysia and England,” the BWF said in a statement.
The United States finished runners-up to traditional powerhouse Malaysia in the 1952 edition of the event. — Bernama