PV Sindhu and India’s national badminton team return to training after months at home

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P.V. Sindhu (front left), women's doubles specialist N. Sikki Reddy, World Championship bronze medallist B. Sai Praneeth are at the Gopi Chand Academy in Hyderabad on Friday. (photo: thehindu)
P.V. Sindhu (front left), women's doubles specialist N. Sikki Reddy, World Championship bronze medallist B. Sai Praneeth are at the Gopi Chand Academy in Hyderabad on Friday. (photo: thehindu)

New Delhi: India’s national badminton players finally returned to training on Friday as they took the first steps in preparing for action in the 2020 Thomas and Uber Cup Finals.

The Indian players have been self-quarantined themselves in their homes after coming back from the All England Championships in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

India is the third worst-hit for Coronavirus around the world after the USA and Brazil with a total of 2,152,020 coronavirus cases and a total of 43,453 deaths reported as of August 8, 2020.

Eight players from the Indian national team including PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth, Saina Nehwal, Ashwini Ponnappa, B Sai Praneeth, Chirag Shetty, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and N Sikki Reddy have been given the approval by the Sports Authority of India to attend the training. However, due to some other players were still stuck in other cities, only three players- PV Sindhu, Sai Praneeth and Sikki Reddy, accompanied by their coaches and sparring partners were seen practicing at the Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy in Hyderabad.

“I have a strong intense desire to improve every day and I am trying some new strokes,” said Sindhu.

In fact, in order to keep everybody in the training camp safe from the COVID-19 pandemic, Sindhu’s father had been lending Sindhu’s coach, Park Tae-sang a car to prevent cross-contamination while taking public transportation.

“This way he does not need to take a taxi to go to training. We just don’t want to risk anything, everyone’s safety is our top priority,” said Sindhu’s father.

Sindhu was defeated by Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in the quarter-final of the All-England Open in March. It was her last tournament before the long break.

India’s chief badminton coach Pullela Gopichand was also happy to see Indian players resume training.

“I am very happy to have our elite shuttlers back for on-field training after this long break,” said Gopichand.

“We are fully equipped to resume training in a safe environment,” added Gopichand.

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