COVID-19: Sugiarto puts health above Olympic qualification

The Indonesian badminton player is worried more about the COVID-19 situation in his country than the chances of his qualification for the 2021 Olympics.

Tommy Sugiarto is keeping himself fit by doing a lot of exercises at home.   -  R. Ragu

Indonesian badminton player Tommy Sugiarto is worried more about the situation in his country than the chances of his qualification for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

Ranked 26 in the world, Sugiarto, the 2014 World championship singles bronze medallist, told Sportstar over phone on Monday that the situation in Jakarta was indeed a cause for concern.

“The current situation in Jakarta is very worrying because every day there are people who die from the coronavirus. So I and my family are at home just following the instructions from our government.”

Admitted that it is quite difficult to make the cut for Tokyo, given the fact that two players, Anthony Ginting and Jonatan Christie are ranked much higher than him (at 6 and 7 respectively), Sugiarto said he is nevertheless trying his best.

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“For now the main thing is health. I am keeping myself fit by doing a lot of exercises at home because here most sports venues are closed because of the virus,” he said.

The 31-year-old was quite critical of All England Open authorities for not following the guidelines when it hosted the tournament from March 11 to 15. “There I saw they didn’t apply social distancing as many people gathered. That’s what makes me wonder why they organised the tournament in the first place when there was COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

Sugiarto said having played in four editions of Premier Badminton League, including this year for Chennai Superstarz, it has been a huge boon for Indian junior players. “Indian players, especially the juniors are very excited to take part in PBL because they can feel the atmosphere of competing with world class players,” he said.

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