Srikanth waiting for training to resume at Gopichand Academy
It is at the Gopichand Badminton Academy the probables are expected to train for next year's Olympics. Srikanth is eagerly waiting to head to Hyderabad from his hometown Guntur.
Kidambi Srikanth says it will take time to achieve the same level of fitness once full-fledged training resumes.
With Telangana government easing restrictions for resumption of sporting activities, India's ace shuttler P.V. Sindhu got back to training at the Suchitra Academy in Hyderabad on Wednesday.
But it is at the Gopichand Badminton Academy the probables are expected to train for next year's Olympics. The guidelines are being worked out and once it is in place at the academy, former world No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth is eagerly waiting to head to Hyderabad from his hometown Guntur.
"I am still in Guntur but I will go and start training immediately whenever the academy opens up. Telangana government has given the permission but they are still figuring out the rules and once the SOPs are in place I am eager to start training," Srikanth told Sportstar.
For top athletes, it was tough to replicate outdoor training at home during the long lockdown. Srikanth too faced the same problem and says it will take time to achieve the same level of fitness once full-fledged training resumes.
"It will take another two-three months for sure to get back to the previous level of fitness," Srikanth said.
"It is very tough to do the same intensity of training at home but I managed to do some physical activity every day for about 45 minutes. I just tried to do something or the other so that I stay physically fit in order to not lose out on everything I have been doing for so many years...can't really let that happen," he added.
Injury and comeback
Srikanth had a stellar 2017, when he became the only Indian to win four Superseries titles in a calendar year. It didn't stop there as he went on to become the third Indian to be ranked world No. 1 after Prakash Padukone and Saina Nehwal.
When he had the momentum going, Srikanth was hit by a spate of injuries and the latest being the knee injury in last May that affected his Olympic qualification process in a big way. Moreover, the recovery and comeback has not been easy with the coronavirus pandemic causing further setback.
"The knee injury happened during the Olympic qualification period. It was really very tough because after I recovered I had to really push myself to get back to my 100 per cent fitness to play in tournaments. In that process I kept injuring myself again and again. I had to take lot of breaks and then took some time and I was slowly getting back when this whole thing (pandemic) happened.
"I lost the whole of 2019 and also the whole of 2020. So this is a little disappointing but that's how it is and you can't really do anything about it," said Srikanth, who earlier this year had first round exits in the Malaysia, Indonesia and the Thailand Masters.
Badminton World Federation has scrapped all its September tournaments and Srikanth too is not sure when the international calendar will begin with the travel restrictions still in place due to safety concerns.
"Speaking of it, our government is yet to give us permission to travel internationally. There are a lot of things involved and the government has to take a decision and it is not easier anymore to just take a flight and go," he said.
Then what happens to Olympic qualification? Srikanth opts to remain pragmatic. "Again it involves travel and tournaments and as long as we are not allowed I cannot really plan on anything. The moment the schedule gets confirmed, government allows us to travel that's when I will start thinking about it."
Until the go-ahead on training resumption at the Gopichand Badminton Academy, Srikanth - who isn’t much into movies or web series - will have to be content playing PUBG and spending time with his family.