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COVID-19 Impact - National badminton camp may seek local players for practice sessions

A NATIONAL CAMP for elite Indian settlers is currently underway in Hyderabad, and they're taking applications.

The likes of PV Sindhu, Sikki Reddy and B Sai Praneeth are running a makeshift practice camp under Indian badminton legend Pullela Gopichand. They're running fitness drills and having on-court sessions with the Tokyo Olympics in mind.

While the Olympics have been delayed to 2021, players were affected by the COVID-19 caused lockdown and getting fit for international competition is going to be an arduous process for them.

Photo Courtesy - BAI

To help accelerate their training, the players are considering seeking permission from the Badminton Association of India to call in some of the talented players who reside in the city to take part in the practice sessions.

Under normal circumstances this would be a great opportunity for budding shuttlers to share the court and spend hours in training with some of the elite players in the country. But due to the continued proliferation of the coronavirus, this likely raises concerns about whether involving persons from outside the camp may pose a risk to the resident players being exposed to an infection.

Due to the small size of the camp it's easier to keep every participant in isolation without the need for a massive bio safety bubble. But if new people start joining it may complicate matters.

If such a measure is to be taken, the BAI and SAI may have to come together to create a safety protocol to pre-screen new players ahead of their inclusion in the camp. This may require steps like a period of quarantine and a COVID test.

It remains to be seen whether any such step is taken, but if done correctly, this will surely be a boost fo the players who are already facing an uphill battle training with limited resources and personnel.