Ace shuttlers Ashwini Ponnappa and Lakshya Sen are among the about 20 Indian players who have resumed training at the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy in Bengaluru as the sport took its first step towards resumption after the COVID-19 hiatus.
The academy will follow the standard operating procedures laid down by the Sports Authority of India and the players step out of their homes after more than two months of lockdown, which was imposed in the last week of March to control the spread of novel coronavirus.
“Some top national players have been training for last two weeks here. We have 16 courts spread out and about 20 India players are currently practising here. We have separate timings and sessions,” Vimal Kumar, head coach and director PPBA, told PTI. “Most of the trainees out of the total 65 are currently not in the city but they are very keen to come and start training.”
“We have sent out a mail that they should come in batches of 6 or 10 as they have to go through two weeks of home quarantine,” he said. “People coming from Maharashtra need to go through institutional quarantine so we have asked them to avoid that. We are not forcing anyone to come.”
Ashwini, Ajay Jayaram, and Lakshya Sen are among the top players in the batch to take to the courts at the academy as the Government has allowed to open the sports facilities without spectators.
“For the elite players, it will be very tough for them because in these 2-3 months, they must have lost 30-40 per cent of their sharpness, the overall level would have dropped. It will take them a month and a half to get back into good shape,” Vimal said.
“The players have been following fitness programs so they are not totally unfit but badminton involves a lot of skill so their reflexes can go down due to the lockdown. So they will be building on physical strength and endurance.”