CHENNAI: After remaining confined to home for months due to the pandemic and lockdown, five Indian judokas left for Hungary to compete in the Budapest Grand Prix last month.
Not surprisingly, all of them lost in the first round as they competed in an international event without adequate practice.
Given the extraordinary situation they are in, these judokas savoured the moment nonetheless, because they got an opportunity to compete. But now, expect them to shake off the rust and get back into the groove ahead of upcoming tournaments.
They have been asked to join training at SAI National Centre of Excellence (NCOE) in Bhopal and Indian Institute of Sport (IIS) in Vijayanagar.
“Avtar Singh (-100kg), Vijay Kumar Yadav (-60kg) and Tulika Maan (100kg) will reach the Bhopal centre on November 18,” said Yashpal Solanki, judo head coach of the Bhopal NCOE. Three more — Ajay Yadav (-73kg), D Devadarshini (78kg) and Ritu Verma (-52kg) — will also join them, added Solanki.
The other two judokas, who competed in the Hungary event — Jasleen Singh Saini (66kg) and L Sushila Devi (48kg) — are expected to train at IIS.
Earlier, 39 judokas (22 men and 17 women) reached Bhopal on October 25. “The first batch has started group training after completing their seven-day mandatory quarantine and a week of individual practice as per the SAI’s standard operating procedures. The new batch has to follow similar protocols before they can start training,” said the head coach. Solanki expects at least two judokas from the country to qualify for the Olympics.