Indian badminton coach Agus Dwi Santoso has urged Olympic medal hopes to attend national training camps. Eight athletes can attend the training camp at the Sports Authority of India’s (SAI) Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy in Hyderabad.
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Only world champion PV Sindhu, B Sai Praneeth, women’s doubles specialist Sikki Reddy and former world number one Kidambi Srikanth are currently attending the camp, however. London 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Saina Nehwal is a notable absentee following a fall-out with the SAI and the Badminton Association of India (BAI).
It comes after the SAI and BAI did not add Nehwal’s husband and Tokyo Olympic hopeful Parupalli Kashyap to their list of potential players for next year’s postponed Games. Satwiksairaj Ranki Reddy, who recently tested positive for coronavirus, is at her home in Amalapuram, while her mixed doubles partner Chirag Shetty has stayed in Mumbai.
Ashwini Ponnappa decided to stay in Bangalore and train at the Padukone-Dravid Centre of Sports Excellence. Santoso revealed he wanted more players to attend the camp at Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy to ensure the country was adequately prepared for next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.
“I understand SAI’s decision to allow eight players for the camp in this pandemic but only four players are training,” he said, as reported by Times of India.
I need more players of the same level, quality players because badminton is a mind game, it needs teamwork. It has been a few weeks and we are still training a few players and that is not good. It is important to train as a group so that players can compete hard and help each other – healthy competition is important.
I hope for support from SAI in getting more players to train. Once we have that, we would be in a better position to prepare and do well in tournaments including the Tokyo Olympics. India has earned two Olympic medals in badminton, with Sindhu adding a silver medal from Rio 2016 to Nehwal’s bronze from London 2012.