Clarity over safety needed for badminton to restart smoothly: Indian shuttler HS Prannoy

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Express News Service

KOCHI: The Thomas and Uber Cup which was postponed at the last minute was supposed to be the first top badminton tournament after the sport came to standstill in March.

The attention has now turned to Denmark Open, but Indian shuttler HS Prannoy, who chose to skip the event, feels that there might still be some reluctance from players due to a lack of clarity when it comes to the safety and precautionary measures that are in place for these events.

PV Sindhu’s decision to pull out of the Denmark Open could be seen as a case in point.

“I think it’s all been a little tentative from the federation and maybe they also would be thinking like let the players come and let’s see how it goes. When it comes to other sports that re-started, there was a clear strategy put in place to organise those events in bio-secure bubbles.

There were no ifs and buts. In badminton’s case, a large number of people travel between countries for each tournament, and each country will have minimum 35-40 people who will be travelling like the players, physios, trainers, coaches. When it comes to something like Thomas Cup, it would be bigger. And if you don’t have any assurance about the safety protocols put in place, there will be some degree of fear and doubts. I think that’s why so many teams pulled out of the Thomas and Uber Cup,” said Prannoy.

The shuttler said that he was fit and ready for the Denmark Open but felt that the risks involved were too big.

“We have been speaking about Denmark Open for the last one month. I was training regularly and was good to go for Denmark Open but then things were up and down, here and there. And then there were talks that maybe only one tournament is being planned for the moment.

So I felt it’s not necessary and not really important for me to pack my luggage and go for this one tournament. That’s why I thought I’ll withdraw but let’s see how it goes and how the other players deal with the situation. I’m thinking of playing in the Asia circuit in November,” he said.

The 28-year-old feels that hosting the Denmark Open successfully will help answer a lot of questions as far conducting tournaments safely is concerned.

“Right now, there isn’t a lot of clarity. For each sport, the challenges are different. When the first tournament is held, there might be some hiccups and there will be a lot of questions surrounding it. Let’s see how the Denmark Open goes and it will give a fair bit of idea on how things might be in the future,” said Prannoy.

However, it has not been easy for the shuttler to stay away from action, but health comes first for him. “I’ve had numerous injuries over the years and a lot of health issues, and I literally know the pain of being in a hospital.

At this point of time, I don’t want to be in that position. I think it’s very personal and I’m sure out of ten, maybe I’m the only one saying like this. For many, this is their earning and sportspersons have short careers. It’s very unique situation,” he said about the catch-22 situation that shuttlers find themselves in.

Srikanth seeks early departure Set for Denmark Open, singles ace Kidambi Srikanth — part of Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) — will be funded by Sports Authority of India (SAI) during the event, which is due to be held from October 13th to October 18th. Srikanth reportedly wants to reach the venue early along with his coach and physio. But his coach and physio’s names are yet to be decided.



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