The national badminton camp for eight Tokyo 2020 Olympic hopefuls, including PV Sindhu, will resume at the Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy in Hyderabad.
The decision was taken by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) after clearance for the camp was received from the Telangana government on August 1 allowing resumption of sporting activities from August 5.
To ensure complete safety of athletes and proper social distancing norms during the training, the academy has been divided into colour zones wherein only athlete and coaches will be allowed to access the green zone, or the field of play, while there are different zones earmarked for support staff and administrative staff who will have no access to the field of play.
The form and preparation of Indian badminton players is crucial as they aim to win a medal for the third Olympics in a row, following Sindhu’s silver at the 2016 Rio Games, and Saina Nehwal’s bronze at London in 2012.
International competition was halted in March due to the pandemic, and the Badminton World Federation (BWF) has postponed plans for resumption in September. The Thomas and Uber Cup, to be played in Aarhus, Denmark from October 3 to 11, is expected to be the first event.
Gopichand and India’s Korean trainer, Park Tae-sang, supervised the training session in Hyderabad with Sindhu’s father, PV Ramana, a former volleyball international, also present.
“Sindhu trained from 6.00am to 8.30am following all social distancing and sanitising protocols,” Ramana said over phone from Hyderabad. Sindhu began her fitness and workout sessions on Wednesday, under trainer M Srikanth Verma.
“She will do on-court practice at Gopi’s academy in the morning and a couple of hours of physical training at the Suchitra Academy in the evening,” he said.