Saina Nehwal resumes training in Hyderabad

The London Olympics medallist is likely to join the national camp at the Gopichand academy in two weeks.

Saina Nehwal is currently training with husband P. Kashyap and R. M. V. Gurusaidutt at a facility near the Gopichand academy.   -  Ritu Raj Konwar

Saina Nehwal has resumed training at a separate facility in Hyderabad and is likely to join the national camp at the SAI Gopichand academy in two weeks.

Saina is one of the eight Olympic hopefuls allowed by the Sports Authority of India to resume training at the academy from 7 August, following the Telangana government’s approval on 1 August. Saina is currently training with P. Kashyap, her husband, and R. M. V. Gurusaidutt, the 2014 Commonwealth Games medallist, at a different centre near the Gopichand academy.

“We have been training at a centre near the Gopichand academy for a week now. It is a small facility. We started with the basics as it was after a long time that we were hitting the court,” Kashyap, a former Commonwealth Games champion, told PTI.

“Saina has just joined. She will probably start training at the Gopichand academy in a couple of weeks. She wants to get fitter and reach a decent level. She has sought the permission of Gopi sir and discussed it with new Indonesian coach Agus Dwi Santoso,” he added.

Kashyap, who is currently 24th in the world rankings, believes the Gopichand academy is equipped with enough courts to accommodate a few more players and they can start training by following social distancing and other regulations laid down by SAI.

Few players available

“Out of eight players, Chirag [Shetty], Satwik [Rankireddy] and Ashwini [Ponnappa] are not in Hyderabad right now so basically only four-five players are training. There are nine courts and players generally train for an hour or two, so I think few more players can be allowed to train there,” the London Olympics quarterfinalist said.

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The men’s doubles pair of Chirag and Satwiksairaj - currently in Mumbai and Amalapuram (Andhra Pradesh) respectively - are wary of the COVID-19 threat and will wait for another couple of weeks before deciding whether or not to join the camp. Women’s doubles player Ashwini, who partners Sikki in the international circuit, is likely to join if there is clarity on the international calendar. The Bangalore-based shuttler is currently training at the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy.

“Since badminton is not a contact sport it can be done. In Bangalore, everyone is training and you need good sparring partners. How long can just eight players train?” Kashyap said.

Kashyap and doubles specialist B. Sumeeth Reddy are also based out of Hyderabad.

P. V. Sindhu, along with B. Sai Praneeth and N. Sikki Reddy, resumed training on Friday under strict safety protocols at the Gopichand academy, ending a four-month-long coronavirus-forced hiatus. Former World No.1 K. Srikanth, who is based out of Guntur, will be resuming training this week.

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