Star Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal has begun training after the COVID-19 induced lockdown at a facility in Hyderabad. According to reports, she will join the national camp in a few weeks at the SAI Pullela Gopichand Academy.
SAI’s Permission for training
The Sports Authority of India has allowed eight Olympic hopefuls to restart training from August 7. Saina is one of these eight players granted permission to train at SAI Pullela Gopichand Academy. The Telangana government had approved of this on August 1.
Saina has decided to train with husband Parupalli Kashyap and 2014 Commonwealth Games Bronze medallist RMV Gurusaidutt. The former world no. 1 will then join the other shuttlers at the national camp.
Kashyap said that they have been training at a small facility for a week. They have started with basic training, having begun after a hiatus. He added that Saina joined a few days back and wants to be fitter and reach a good level.
COVID-19 norms to be followed
Saina had sort permission of Gopichand and discussed the same with Indonesian coach Agus Dwi Santoso. Kashyap believes that the Gopichand Academy has enough courts to accommodate players. Social distancing and other regulation can be followed by athletes who begin training. There are a total of nine courts and players train for one or two hours.
Badminton is not a contact sport so training can be carried out without much hassle. Kashyap and B Sumeet Reddy are based out of Hyderabad so they can train there.
Olympic silver-medallist PV Sindhu, Sai Praneeth and Sikki Reddy began training last week. They are following strict protocols at the Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad. The shuttlers had to wait for four months before they could start practising.
Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy shall wait for another couple of weeks before they decide to join the camp. The two shuttlers are based out of Mumbai and Amalapuram respectively and are wary of coronavirus.
Guntur based, former World 1 Kidambi Srikanth will start training this week. Women’s doubles player Ashwini Ponnappa will also soon join her partner Sikki. She is currently training at the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy.
Sports across the globe had taken a backseat due to the spread of coronavirus. Now, after a few months, things have started coming back on track. We hope to see sports getting back to ‘life’ soon.