Hyderabad: B Sai Praneeth’s preparation for his maiden Olympics appearance in Tokyo is getting tougher and tougher. The fresh lockdown has come as another stumbling block in his preparation for the quadrennial event.
“It is tough. With tournament after tournament being cancelled or postponed, it is a big challenge to be motivated and play. We are having training but no tournaments. Sometimes it worries you. Now, the fresh lockdown is another big challenge. I have to find sparring partners and I have to change the schedule since the relaxation period is from 6 am to 10 am,” said the World Championship bronze medalist.
Praneeth said it looked good till February before it turned bad in April. “We had participated in the All England and we were looking for tournaments in India, Malaysia and Singapore before the second wave of Covid-19 upset all our plans. It is disappointing and frustrating to be confined to training sessions only,’’ he said.
The 28-year-old Hyderabad shuttler said that he got adjusted to the new challenges ever since there was Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdowns last year. “Training-wise it is okay. I’m fit.
The training sessions are going on well with coach Agus Dwi Santoso. Actually, I took a break since I opted out of the Singapore Open but now with the new lockdown, I have to make fresh plans for my training schedule. The academy players have been of great help in my practice sessions.’’
Praneeth said one has to be mentally tough. “There is a lot of mental stress but it is better to be focused otherwise negative thoughts will creep into your mind. It is sad we keep preparing for the tournaments and they keep getting cancelled. Sometimes, it frustrates you. Now the Olympics is just a couple of months away we don’t know whether it will be held or not.’’
He said he doesn’t intend to take any sports psychologist help. “I want to go to the Olympics in a positive frame of mind although the series of cancellation of tournaments is a setback of sorts.’’
Praneeth said the Europeans will have the psychological advantage for the Tokyo Olympics as all the sporting activities have resumed in Europe. “There are some tournaments being played in Europe also. They will have an advantage of match practice before the Tokyo Olympics unlike the other Asian players who have been restricted to training sessions only.’