N. Sikki Reddy, P.V. Sindhu and B. Sai Praneeth resumed training at the Gopichand Badminton Academy in Hyderabad on Friday.
After a four-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sports Authority of India allowed the badminton camp to resume for the Olympic probables post the Telangana government's approval.
"We were very happy when we received the letter from SAI that we can resume training. There were few questions as Chirag Shetty, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa are not here and I am the only one in doubles. So I had some apprehensions about how the training would go but it went well. It was a different kind of experience," Sikki told Sportstar .
The doubles specialist began her two-hour training from 8:30 am under the watchful eyes of her coaches — Dwi Kristiawan, Namrih Suroto and Miftah.
"I felt different on the court, tiring to be honest. While I was doing stroke practice I erred a lot and wasn't consistent. It will take some time for me to get into the rhythm. We didn't play for four months and I was getting irritated at a point but the coaches calmed me and it went well. Overall a satisfying training today," she said.
The ace shuttler also informed that strict protocols were in place and that the training was held as per the Standard Operating Procedure laid down by SAI.
"Only players and coaches are allowed in the field of play, although there are different colour zones, we are familiar with that. It's a big academy, there are about 12 courts, so social distancing is maintained in a good way. Moreover, each player received two barrels of shuttles to use. We carried our own water bottles and hand towels and our equipment was sanitised. The cleaning personnel are only allowed once we finish our training. Everything is followed as per the guidelines," she said.
Sikki further informed that chief coach Pullela Gopichand will apply for permission to allow more shuttlers. However, it will be done in a phased manner.
"We are taking it slowly... Because if someone shows symptoms and everyone will be scared and again it (the academy) will be shut. So we don't know exactly what is going to happen tomorrow or day after... Gopi sir has said that he will take permission to allow more players only if things go well from here. I hope I get a few more players to train with," she said.
In the Uber Cup, scheduled to be held in October, the Indian women are placed in Group D with China, France and Germany. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the Badminton World Federation has not been able to restart the events as per its revised schedule.
"It's too early. Travel has not started and so many things have to be taken into consideration. The biggest concern will be around quarantine (how, where and time duration) and also we need to check on medical facilities, in case of an emergency," she said.
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