Ajay Jayaram, Tanvi Lad return to court in Bengaluru

Precautionary measures like distancing, regular use of disinfectants, and temperature checks were in place at the KBA academy. Only singles action was permitted.

KBA Academy head coach Anup Sridhar and badminton player Tanvi Lad at KBA Academy in Bengaluru on Tuesday   -  Sudhakara Jain

After a long absence from the badminton court forced by the coronavirus pandemic, Ajay Jayaram, Tanvi Lad and a few Karnataka players returned to training here. The shuttlers were pleased to put in work at the KBA Academy, alongside head coach and Olympian Anup Sridhar.

Precautionary measures like distancing, regular use of disinfectants, and temperature checks were in place. Only singles action was permitted, to ensure that proper distancing was maintained.

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Tanvi and Sridhar stated that wearing masks was not possible, given that badminton is a physically exerting sport. Tanvi, the 2019 Croatian International runner-up, said, “It’s great to be back after a gap of two months. We did a lot of fitness training during the lockdown - through online sessions with Sridhar. This ensured that our physical fitness did not suffer.”

Sridhar explained that since the players are a bit rusty, it is best to take things slow. “The immediate goal is to gradually get the players back to full fitness. The ankles, back and shoulders will be sensitive now due to the long layoff, and therefore prone to injury,” Sridhar said, adding that it will take at least two months for players to become match fit.

As is the case with several professional sports, the road ahead in terms of tournament action remains uncertain. As per the calendar released by the Badminton World Federation (BWF), international tournaments resume in mid-August, but it remains to be seen if the current travel restrictions and other logistical hurdles will be removed in time.

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Only a thin line separates staying safe and losing one’s livelihood. “We have to wait and watch before taking a call on international tournament entries. However, top-level players like Jayaram and Tanvi cannot avoid international tournaments for a long period of time. It will adversely affect their ranking and earnings,” Sridhar said.

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