BENGALURU: As India's elite shuttlers like PV Sindhu await permission from the Telangana government to resume training at the Gopichand Badminton Academy in Hyderabad, Ajay Jayaram and Tanvi Lad have hit the court.
They have been swinging their racquets at the Karnataka Badminton Association (KBA) courts since last Wednesday. A few state players also started their training. This became possible after the central and state governments allowed sports complexes and stadia to open.
Jayaram and Lad are part of the KBA Academy, where Anup Sridhar is the coach. Sridhar has been in touch with the players, advising them on fitness routines during the lockdown via Zoom. But it is a different thing when it comes to on-court training. Their plan is to go slow.
They are only training at 50 per cent intensity, looking to push it to 75 per cent next week.
“Back to normal is a slow process. No point in pushing for 100 per cent too hard, too soon,” said Sridhar. The former player, who won a bronze as part of the mixed team at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, is in no hurry to think about future tournaments. International badminton will return in August starting with the Hyderabad Open. “For two weeks, it will be a bit easy. We will pick up slowly and get them match fit by the time the tournament comes. We will have to sit out and plan about the tournaments," said Sridhar.
With the KBA opening its doors to members from Monday, academy players have to practise between 10am and 5pm. Players are back on court after two months and it is important not to overdo things, which could lead to injuries.
“We have been focusing on basic stuff, nothing which is taxing on the body. This is a time when one may get injured. We are just trying to get the muscles used to movements and fix routines, mostly simple stuff. Everyday, there is progress. To get back to match fitness, it would take at least six more weeks," said Lad, who is 112th in the women's world rankings. Jayaram is 61st.
Everyone in the academy is following guidelines, including regular use of hand sanitisers. The playing surface is disinfected twice a day and only singles practice is allowed. During workouts, social distancing is maintained. However, the players are not wearing masks while playing. “It becomes impossible to play wearing masks. It becomes difficult to breathe. We have to run in all directions too,” explained Lad.