BAI plans training camp in Hyderabad from July 1

Domestic tourneys will not begin until September, says BAI secretary Ajay Singhania.

India’s badminton stars based out of Hyderabad, including P. V. Sindhu, haven’t been able to resume training yet.   -  PTI

Top Indian shuttlers will be able to hit the courts from July 1 if the Telangana State government gives a green light to the Badminton Association of India (BAI) for organising a national camp in Hyderabad.

While a bunch of Indian players started practising at the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy (PPBA) in Bengaluru after the Sports Authority of India (SAI) laid down rules for resumption of training last month, the elite players in Hyderabad are yet to get back to badminton training.

With COVID-19 cases surging in Hyderabad, the Talengana government extended the lockdown till June 30 as a precautionary measure. It meant the return to sport got further delayed for the top players in the State. “The pandemic has put a break on our training but after weighing the situation, we have decided to start the training camps in Hyderabad from July 1, subject to State governments permission and approval,” BAI secretary Ajay Singhania told PTI.

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In March, the BAI postponed the Senior National Championships, scheduled in Lucknow between April 27 to May 3 in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it has now decided not to resume the domestic circuit till September. “BAI had a discussion with all State secretaries on the status of resuming the domestic tournaments and after consultations it was decided that domestic tournaments will not resume till September,” Singhania said.

“The pandemic situation will be further accessed and reviewed in September.”

In February, BAI announced the introduction of a multi-level domestic tournament structure, which will have a combined prize money of ₹2 crore (approx.), to replace the senior ranking tournaments in India. The revamped structure was supposed to have three levels of tournaments — Level 1, 2 and 3 respectively — but it didn’t see the light of the day due to the pandemic.

Out of four international tournaments that India was scheduled to host this year, two have been cancelled so far: the Hyderabad Open, and the India Junior International Grand Prix. The India Open, originally scheduled to be held in March, will be held from December 8-13.

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