P. Kashyap: BWF’s tournament calendar should begin from next year

London Olympics quarterfinalist Parupalli Kashyap says the safety of players should be of foremost concern given the COVID-19 pandemic.

London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal with husband and Commonwealth Games gold medallist P. Kashyap.   -  V. V. Subrahmanyam

The Badminton World Federation should start its tournament calendar only early next year given the current COVID-19 crisis, London Olympics quarterfinalist P. Kashyap has said.

“For me, this seems to be the ideal option considering the safety of the players as competition means travelling to different countries which again can be a serious challenge to anyone,” the 33-year-old Kashyap said in a chat with Sportstar.

Kashyap felt there was no other option for the BWF but to freeze the rankings; the tougher part was how it would unfreeze them. “For, you can start thinking about that only when the BWF calendar is finalised. And again, they have to keep in mind India being affected very late by [COVID-19], we are yet to start full-fledged training sessions unlike those in Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Denmark,” he said.

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“From my perspective, the online sessions monitored by Gopi Anna (chief national coach P. Gopi Chand) and the fitness trainer Dinaz [Vervatwala] are ensuring that all the [Gopichand Badminton] Academy players maintain the desired fitness levels, if not with the same intensity as we do in the stadium,” he said.

“Yes, personally, the injury breaks were more frustrating for me than this ‘lockdown’. At least you can do some shadow practice, do some exercises on the gym unlike when injured you can’t just move,” Kashyap, who suffered more injuries than many of his contemporaries at the wrong time of his career, said.

Boon in disguise

“Frankly, I had a back injury in Spain before this virus had hit the world and would have been out of action for four weeks. So, I must say this lockdown is a blessing in disguise as it gave enough time for me to be fit and back on court and training really hard with the Indonesian coaches, too, helping us a lot,” revealed Kashyap.

“In a way, personally, I have realised that we can do a lot of strengthening exercises at home also during this lockdown,” he said with a big smile.

“Obviously, it is very tough to stay away from the badminton court, but doing some online courses of Indian Oil Corporation (where he is Senior Manager) to get a feel of what the organisation does on various fronts - like how IOC is into supplying fuel for flights including the hazards involved - [is great],” he explained.

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Safety first

“Honestly, for every athlete, safety is first priority and then the sport. Here, I fully endorse BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly’s statement that he doesn’t believe in sport when there is a risk to human life,” Kashyap said.

Kashyap is spending time with his parents and his wife, Saina Nehwal, is taking care of her own parents, after the husband-wife duo returned from the European circuit before the lockdown. They went into self-quarantine and then were confined indoors.

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