Lockdown diaries: Enforced break a blessing in disguise for Prannoy

H.S. Prannoy, who slipped to No 28 in the world rankings due to poor form, said he is using the break to reflect on what went wrong.

H.S. Prannoy said it is a good time for him to recharge his batteries and come back refreshed for the new season. (File Photo)   -  AP

For H.S.Prannoy the COVID-19 enforced break has been a blessing in disguise. Former world number eight Prannoy, who is enjoying the break at home, said he was using the layoff to rest his tired body and rediscover his lost mojo. "The month long break is the biggest I have got in my professional career. I have never stayed at my home for more than a week in the last seven years and I am enjoying every minute of it. In a way it is a welcome break and it is good for me to recharge my batteries and come back refreshed for the new season,'' he said.

The 27-year-old Prannoy, who skipped the All England Open badminton championship, said it was the right decision in the prevailing circumstances and like the other players, he too was worried about his ranking dropping due to break in international schedule.

"The tournament was taking place at a time when the disease was spreading rapidly in England and I thought it was risky. Regarding the rankings, it is a tricky situation as the players will lose points if they are not playing in any tournaments to defend it. But since there are no tournaments taking place, everyone is worried about losing their rankings. The Badminton World Federation should take a call on freezing the rankings at least till the season begins as per schedule,'' he said.

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Prannoy, whose form has taken a dip in the last one-and-half-years due to which his world ranking slipped to 28 from eighth,  said he is using the break to reflect on what went wrong with his game. "I must confess that now I am not anywhere close to being as consistent as I was two years ago. A lot of things have contributed towards it. I was not happy at the way I was training as I struggled with the methods of the new coach at the academy. I wasn't getting any match practice and there wasn't any time to reflect on my game as I was playing non-stop. Now that I have got a break, I can reflect on a few things and rework my game," he said.

Despite the break, Prannoy is following the workouts given by his trainer at the Gopichand Academy. "Every other day, there is a video conference with the trainer and I follow the schedule given to me. Sometimes I play an odd game in the terrace to stay fit,'' he said.

PTI adds:

The emotional and financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is weighing on Indian shuttler Prannoy’s mind and he believes that the already “bleak” scenario would only get worse if things don’t take a turn for the better in one and a half month’s time.

The coronavirus outbreak, which has killed over 40,000 globally, has put countries in lockdown and halted sports, including badminton, across the world. It has also triggered financial and mental woes across the world. “It is not a great time for any of the companies, they are not earning now with this lockdown and everything depends on sponsors, so yeah, it will have an impact on the sport,” Prannoy, a Commonwealth Games gold-medallist, told PTI in an interview.

”The sponsors, they must have invested in other sports as well. So I think things are very bleak for badminton and sports overall. We have less revenue coming in from a couple of places and if that also stops after a while, it will be a big problem for players. So, I hope it gets normal in one and a half month’s time,” he explained.

Athletes around the globe, including multiple Grand Slam winner Serena Williams and decorated swimmer Michael Phelps, have spoken about the effect of this lockdown on the mental health of the athletes. “There might be so many who would be anxious to go out there and play, probably 80 per cent of them, and it is not only about sportspersons, each and every individual might have mental issues...but we don’t have a choice right now,” Prannoy said.

“We have to take it a positively. We should find fun in whatever we are doing right now in everyday life, things which we have not been able to do all these years in our professional careers. Better to enjoy this time and keep up the fitness, work out, it will take away all the fatigue, both mental and physical. Just keep working.”

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