Badminton players in India were happy to learn that the Sports Authority of India (SAI) had given them approval to assemble in Hyderabad and commence a training camp at the Pullela Gopichand Academy.
India is slowly starting to relax its COVID-19 guidelines even though there are still a large number of people who are battling the coronavirus in the country. Most sports in the country are still yet to resume, so it was a bit surprising to see SAI grant badminton players approval to proceed with a training camp.
One of the reasons for the approval is due to the fact that a number of top badminton tournaments including the Thomas and Uber Cup tournaments are scheduled for October.
Camp Must Follow Strict SOPs
SAI has laid down strict standard operating procedures (SOPs) that must be followed at all times during the training camp which commenced on 07 September will run till 27 September. All of the players and support staff who will be at the camp have had to take a RT-PCR test for COVID-19 before flying into Hyderabad.
The academy will only allow them to enter once they produce a negative test result. All individuals will once again be tested on the 6th day and be allowed to start practicing only when they clear the second COVID-19 test.
Dr. Monika, who is the assistant Director at Sai was part of the SAI Bengaluru hockey camp were multiple players tested positive for COVID. She will be at the badminton training camp to educate all players and support staff on what precautions and measures they need to follow during the camp.
Some of the players who will be attending this camp include doubles teammates Sikki Reddy and Ashwini Ponappa, Saina Nehwal, P Kashyap, Sai Praneeth. There will also be 7 coaches, 3 sparring partners and 4 support staff in attendance.
The initial request to SAI was for players to stay in a hotel and train at the camp. However, SAI decided that it was better to create a bio-bubble at the academy and make the players and staff stay at the academy.
National coach Pullela Gopichand said he was very happy to see SAI give its approval for this camp to proceed. He said it was vital for all players to start training again and regain match fitness as there are 6 major badminton tournaments scheduled in the next couple of months.
The players were also happy to meet again and start training in preparation for the upcoming tournaments. The main focus now will be to get in the zone again as the players have not have had any practice or training for the last 5 months.
BAI President Grants PV Sindhu’s Request
PV Sindhu who is one of the key players for India decided to pull out of the team that was heading to Aarhus, Denmark to play in the Thomas and Uber Cup tournaments which run from October 3 to 11. Sindhu said that she had a religious function at home and hence was unable to travel with the team as per their scheduled dates.
BAI head Himanta Biswa Sarma asked Sindhu to reconsider her decision stating that this was a great opportunity for her to represent India and win a medal. As a result, Sindhu’s father PV Ramana met with Sarma and got approval for Sindhu to join the squad late as an exception. She is expected to fly to Denmark on the 30th of September or 1st October latest.
PV Ramana was happy that his daughter received an exemption and said that she had no problem joining the squad and playing singles or doubles. However, Sindhu will not be training with the rest of the players during the training camp. She will look to train from 6 am and 8 am and leave the camp before the rest of the players start training.