World champion P. V. Sindhu is going through a different kind of experience at home — in self-isolation — on return from the All England Championships along with her father P. V. Ramana.
In a chat with Sportstar , the 24-year-old lead shuttler shares her thoughts on the dreaded coronavirus pandemic and how she is spending her time at this critical phase.
How were the last few days for you in the wake of the coronavirus fast spreading across the world?
I feel sad at what is happening around the world. These are extremely testing times for all of us. No doubt, it is very difficult to stay indoors, especially for athletes like me. But, again, there are certain things that are not in our hands but merit utmost caution in whatever we do. It is going to be tough, but we have to mentally prepared for the challenges ahead.
Do you have enough hand sanitisers and other related gear?
In fact, when we went to the All England Championships a few days ago just when the dreaded coronavirus was fast spreading and there were even serious concerns about playing there, we were fully prepared, armed with all these things, for safety and health are obviously the first priority. We had a huge stock of sanitisers and wipes, which we used to even clean the seats even though we were few in the business class. So, in a way, it was a different kind of experience but which again helped us to protect ourselves from the virus.
We didn’t experience any tough times on arrival in London or in Hyderabad. The usual medical tests were in place thanks to the efforts of the government, which again should be appreciated.
Do you think your family might be fed up of you by the end of all this?
It is definitely not like that, for everyone is conscious of the dangers that are posed by the virus. So, like any other citizen, we too are taking care of ourselves by not moving out. In fact, after coming back from England, we were confined to our home.
How has your training been affected?
Yes, it is the longest break I have ever had since I started playing the sport. See, it is inevitable for obviously you cannot travel to the academy and train as everything is shut down now, and it is the right thing to do. I don’t think the break in training will have a major bearing when I start playing, for I have been doing physical conditioning exercises to stay fit and also bit of wall practice under the watchful eyes of my father (former international volleyball player and Arjuna awardee P. V. Ramana).
What do you have to say about the Olympics?
Frankly, right now I am not thinking about that at all. Yes, many big events which help the players pick up crucial points to qualify for Tokyo Games are cancelled. I don’t know whether they will be held on schedule or postponed. It was appropriate to postpone the Games given the critical situation prevailing across the globe. It is great to see the organisers show so much concern for the health of everyone. Given the grim scenario, I don’t think any sportsperson was solely concerned about the Olympics. We will have to take it as it comes.
Do you justify the hosting of the All England Championships while many other events are cancelled by the Badminton World Federation (BWF)?
Frankly, I welcome the decision to suspend all BWF events till at least the second week of April. As far as the All England is concerned, it is for the BWF to take a call on the criticism. I don’t want to get into that.
What videos would you love to see during this break?
Honestly, there is nothing specific. I spend my time watching Netflix, listening to music (again, nothing in particular). Yes, when you go through these kind of moments, you would love to remember the highs of your career and for me the 2016 Rio Olympics silver and the 2019 World Championships are the moments that I would love to see again and again whenever time permits. They are truly special for me.
What are your hobbies and are you able to enjoy during this break?
Honestly, before this break, there was no time, literally, at all to think about what I would like to do in my free time, for the schedule was so demanding and I had real difficulty in balancing my training, commitments and spending time with my family members. But now, I watch some movies, again, not the full length, as I tend to switch on to other things.
Well, news is what I am watching the most now. I am keen to know what is happening around the world. Of course, I miss my nephew (elder sister’s 18-month-old son Aaryan) the most, though I make video calls to him.
Which players or teammates would you like to be isolated with or hate to be (in a lighter vein)?
It is difficult to be in isolation. But, by god’s grace, it is my dad who is with me. It is a blessing in disguise that he was with me in London for the All England. I couldn’t ask for a better person than him. Being a sportsperson, he knows how to keep my morale high and obviously spends lot of time in giving useful tips about improving my fitness and game, too.
Does sport matter in these times?
I must say it is a difficult phase. We have never faced this kind of experience before. Apparently, when everything is shut down for the fear of the virus, you can’t expect sporting activity to go on. After all, safety of one and all is the priority of the government and also the responsibility of every citizen.
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