Hyderabad: It has been almost four months since Indian doubles player Chirag Shetty had an on-court training session. The coronavirus outbreak has forced him to stay indoors. Though his partner Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, who is in his hometown in Amalapuram in Andhra Pradesh and a few trainees at the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy in Bengaluru have started training, the situation in Mumbai and Maharashtra is not conducive for any sporting activities.
The youngster, who turned 23 on Saturday, feels staying away from the game for such a long period is not good for any player. “Yes, it is almost four months since my last training session. I haven’t resumed any training here. We tried but everything is shut here in Mumbai. The most we can do is to go for a run. I am doing whatever I can like working on the programme given by my trainer Nelson P Mathews. But on-court training is different,” rues the Mumbaikar.
When asked about how the break would affect their game once they return to training, he said, “It will be tough when we return, at least for the initial period. It will take four to five weeks to get back to previous form.”
“We (Satwik and I) know each other’s game quite well now. This will make the work easy once we get back to training,” he adds. The duo had created history by becoming the first Indian pair to win a Super 500 event at the Thailand Open last year. They are currently ranked No.10 in the world.
Chirag, however, hopes to see the game return by October. “Things are not looking good at the moment. I hope the game will return at least in October. Thomas and Uber Cup is scheduled for October for which we need to start training two months ahead.”
The Badminton Association of India (BAI) earlier said that they would start training camp in Hyderabad from July 1. With the situation in the city not looking good, the proposed camp hasn’t started yet. However, Chirag feels that the shuttlers are willing to travel to any city for camps provided there is no mandatory quarantine-period. “We haven’t had any communication from BAI in this regard. We are okay to go to other places if they arrange anything but only if there is no mandatory quarantine. If we are asked to undergo quarantine for 14 or 21 days, we will lose fitness, especially for those who have already started training” he pleaded.
He adds the Indian shuttlers were in a disadvantageous position since other countries have let their shuttlers resume training. “Shuttlers in Europe and a few Asian countries have started training long back. But the situation in India is not ideal and we are on the backfoot,” he added.
The only good news in these tough times is that both Satwik and Chirag have been nominated for the Arjuna Award by BAI last month. “It is always good to know that our country acknowledges your achievements. So yes, I am very happy and let’s see if we get the award too,” he concluded.
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