National badminton camp for Thomas and Uber Cup final cancelled

New Delhi: The national badminton camp in Hyderabad for next months’ Thomas and Uber Cup final was on Thursday scrapped after it became clear that players would not get any relaxation on the mandatory seven-day quarantine period.

The camp was originally scheduled to star on September 7 and conclude on September 27 for the event set for October 3 to 11 in Aarhus, Denmark. It was proposed by the Sports Authority of India(SAI) at the SAI Pullela Gopichand Academy.

Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, SAI wanted all the 26 players to be in quarantine for at least a week before training, an idea which was rejected by the players and the Badminton Association of India(BAI).

“SAI had made it clear that it can’t make any concession on the quarantine protocols and left it to BAI to decide on the camp. So after deliberation, it was decided today that it will be difficult for players to follow it,” Vimal Kumar, one of the selectors, told PTI.

“So players will have to practice and continue in their respective centers and report to Hyderabad before departure for the event.”

The former India chief coach admitted that it would be tough to select a team without a camp or trial.

“It is a little tough of course, but most of the players have been training and playing where they are, but yes, the real assessment will be difficult under the circumstances.”

SAI had said that players will have to stay and train at the Gopichand academy to ensure greater health safety amid the raging pandemic.

However, top players, who are mostly from Hyderabad, were against the idea and voiced their reluctance to stay at the academy to SAI in a video conference.

While many players have already reached Hyderabad for the camp, several outstation shuttlers like Malvika Bansod and Ashmita Chaliha were asked to wait by BAI.

“Those who have already reached can train at the Gopichand Academy, while the camp for the Olympic hopeful will continue,” a BAI source said.

In another development, world bronze-winner B Sai Praneeth has pulled out of the Thomas Cup and the two Super 750 events in Denmark due to pain in his right knee.

“I had this pain in my right knee since resuming training last month. I had to take a break for a few days but the pain came back to affect my training,” Praneeth said.

“So, I consulted a doctor and he told me to not go all out in training for at least 10 days. So, I have no option but to pull out. It is unfortunate but I have to take care of my health now ahead of the (Olympics) qualifiers.”


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