World championship bronze medallist, B. Sai Praneeth, is concerned about the breaks by way of quarantine before a major tournament in the current grim scenario because of the pandemic.

“The problem is we have been training for long without any events as the scheduled tournaments are getting cancelled or postponed. So, now if you look at the Malaysian Open starting from May 25 and then the Singapore (last two qualifying events before Olympics), we are supposed to be in quarantine for one week and then have only two days of training before the event,” the 28-year-old Praneeth told Sportstar .

“Essentially these sort of long breaks after all the efforts to peak for the tournaments is actually a major irritant,” he added.

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He continued that training was on as usual, but the players sorely missed compeititons. “Well, as far as training is concerned, all the singles and doubles (seniors) players are training separately. Everything is fine on this front but we do miss tournaments,” he said. “For earlier, we used to train for four weeks and then play in a tournament. So, now we are missing real competition,” he added.

Speaking about the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, he said, “Personally, that I am assured of being there for the Tokyo Olympics is a huge motivating factor even as some of these events are cancelled. But, think of others keen to play in the Olympic qualifiers.”

He added, “I am really optimistic that the Tokyo Games will be on for there is no hint otherwise even as extreme precautionary measures are being taken in Tokyo. Maybe that itself shows the organisers are keen to see the Games are on as per schedule.”

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Praneeth has used this time to work on elevating is fitness levels. “Definitely, this phase without tournaments does help me in fine-tuning my game like working on my defence and quite naturally my all-round game too. The main area of focus for me has always been fitness. Reaching the desired level is something different and sustaining it for a longer period is the real challenge,” he said.

“Honestly, I am not trying anything new in my game. I am comfortable with my strengths as my coaches are helping me out in making those minor adjustments, if needed, in the daily one-on-two or one-on-three sessions,” added the former SAF Games gold medallist.