New Delhi, Aug 20, 2020-
The national camp for badminton players is currently underway at the Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad and ever since it has started, it has seen its fair share of ups and downs.
For starters, doubles specialist N Sikki Reddy and a physio tested positive for COVID-19, only to test negative two days later and return to the camp. The positive test had led to the academy being closed down for two days and being sanitised.
Moreover, while eight athletes were named in the list for the camp, only three are currently taking part in it while the rest are training in their own capacities in various cities across the country.
Men’s singles star Parupalli Kashyap has told IANS that he doesn’t see the harm in allowing other top players to train in the academy.
“They (SAI) have basically allowed three or four players to train. Players train for about two or three hours a day and the rest of the time, the courts are empty anyway. So now why don’t they allow another five to ten players who are the top players to train also at different timings?” Kashyap asked.
In keeping with the Sports Authority of India’s (SAI) Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for restarting national camps amid the pandemic, only those athletes who stand a chance of qualifying for the postponed Tokyo Olympics have been called up.
Off these, Chirag Shetty is training in Mumbai while his doubles partner Satwiksairaj Rankireddy is in Andhra Pradesh. Sikki’s doubles partner Ashwini Ponnappa is training in Bengaluru while Kashyap said that his wife Saina Nehwal is planning to join the camp in the coming weeks.
“Saina is training with me in a different place right now,” he said. “I don’t know when competitions start. I don’t see that happening unless there is a vaccine for COVID-19. There are a lot of factors such as travel and immigration laws that are varying according to the country.
“But obviously we want to keep ourselves in some sort of shape and train in the safest way possible. I think normal safety can be maintained in a centre that has around seven or eight players training in it,” he added. (Agency)