Hyderabad: This is indeed refreshing news. The much-awaited National badminton camp will re-start from Friday at the SAI-Pullela Gopichand Academy at Gachibowli.
According to the Badminton Association of India (BAI), Olympic hopefuls, all foreign coaches and sparring partners have been given the green signal to commence training at the academy.
The BAI said on twitter that all the necessary precautions, as laid out in the SOP, will be met at the academy. This decision comes after the State Government also eased out the restrictions and allowed the training sessions to resume in stadiums and academies from Wednesday. The national camp was stopped abruptly after the outbreak of Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown declared by the State Government in March.
For the players it is a huge relief as they will finally have some much-needed training sessions. World champion PV Sindhu, who like other players, has been out of action since her return from All England Championship in March, resumed her fitness training sessions at Suchitra Academy on Wednesday.
“It is always a different feeling when you are on the court. Staying away from the court was one of the difficult phases,” said Sindhu.
However, for the new Indonesian coach Agus Dwi Santoso, who came in March this year as a replacement for South Korea’s Kim Ji Hyun, will finally get the opportunity to train the Indian shuttlers after sitting idle for nearly five months. Although he had online sessions with the players, he will interact with the shuttlers in person for the first time.
Santoso, who was with the Thailand team before this assignment, was roped in by BAI to guide the singles players – both men and women – ahead of the postponed Tokyo Olympics, which has since been rescheduled for next year because of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Santoso will work with Korean coach Park Tae Sung along with chief coach Pullela Gopichand.
World Championship bronze medallist B Sai Praneeth said he was delighted that the camp will resume from Friday. “I’m excited and nervous. I have been asked to come from tomorrow. I’m eagerly waiting to resume my training on the courts. It will be a new beginning and a different feeling. Of course, there will be lot of restrictions as we have to take all precautionary measures, particularly on sanitization,” he said.
However, there will be fewer players for the camp. Kidambi Srikanth, who is away in Guntur, is expected to join the camp in a day or two. Even in doubles, among the Olympics probables only Sikki Reddy is available while others like Ashwini Ponnappa, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty left for their respective places after the lockdown was declared in March.
Interestingly, it is to be seen whether the players and coaches will be asked to stay in the academy itself in the bio-secure bubble as being practiced in most of the camps and tournaments across the world.
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