No fitness concerns due to lockdown for Satwiksairaj

Satwik doesn’t believe that the current lockdown or the postponement of the Tokyo Games is a setback to his aspirations.

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy is now confined to his hometown in Amalapuram (East Godavari).   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

At 19, R. Satwiksairaj, along with this doubles partner Chirag Shetty, was widely tipped to be a strong contender for a medal in the Tokyo Olympics.

Interestingly, Satwik doesn’t believe that the current lockdown or the postponement of the Games to be a setback to his aspirations.

“First, with our doubles coach Indonesian Flandy Limpele quitting, it would have been difficult for us to train even if there were to be no lockdown for we were so used to his training methods,” he says.

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“He made a lot of difference to us. Made us mentally stronger, taught us to be fearless and not bother about the reputations of any opponent,” says the doubles champion.

“Essentially, Limpele’s invaluable tips to me like not to go for smashes continuously, tighten the defence made me a much better player,” Satwik reveals. “Now, once this lockdown is lifted, we will have lot more time to adjust with any new doubles coach and prepare accordingly for 2021 Olympics,” he says.

The World No. 10 in men’s doubles says he is really happy with this long break as it is giving lot of time to train. “I don’t find any difficulty because of this lockdown and I am pretty relaxed,” he says.

“The only thing we should be careful is not to go for high intensity training sessions straight away once when we actually resume our regular sessions at the Academy. This is to avoid any niggles as the body takes time to tune itself to the demanding regimen which we normally would have otherwise followed,”

“Though lot of it (two sessions daily under the supervision of chief national coach Gopi Chand) is more on fitness to ensure that we don’t grow fat, maintain the desired body weight and stamina, I am not too worried,” says Satwik.

“Even with regard to badminton, I am in touch with the game through wall practice sessions and also some friendly contests with my childhood friends who played the sport at State and University level,” says the champion doubles player now confined to his hometown in Amalapuram (East Godavari).

Satwik is not disappointed that the postponement of the Tokyo Games to next August is a setback to them. “When it is the same for everyone, there is no reason to think about that. In fact, we have got more time to prepare,” he says.

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“With no sport across the world, it should be the same scenario when we all return to the circuit when the situation returns to normal, hopefully,” says Satwik.

He also welcomed the BWF decision to freeze the rankings and felt it was inevitable given the international schedule going haywire because of Covid-19.

“The only thing we should be careful is not to go for high intensity training sessions straight away once when we actually resume our regular sessions at the Academy. This is to avoid any niggles as the body takes time to tune itself to the demanding regimen which we normally would have otherwise followed,” he explained.

“So, the kind of training I am doing right now is good enough to keep the body fit and in proper shape,” says Satwik, who with Chirag has become the first Indian pair to win a BWF Super 500 title when they won the Thailand Open last year.

Satwik is also in touch with his doubles partner Chirag Shetty (in Mumbai). “I do believe all the 100 trainees involved in these video classes are fit and have no issues despite this lockdown,” he says.

“Well, we may not train 100 per cent as we doing in the Academy but the 70-80 per cent training which we are training is good enough to maintain the reflexes which help us regroup quickly,” says the champion doubles specialist, enjoying being with his parents - father Viswanadham, a retired Physical Education Teacher, and mother Rangamani, a Government school teacher.

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