World Champion shuttler PV Sindhu did not pull out of All England Championships, held in Birmingham last week despite having a choice. The Indian government had already announced travel restrictions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sindhu’s father PV Ramana told PTI that since they were already through the second round of the Championships there was no point in backing out at that moment. He added that she was accompanied by other shuttlers from the country and said, “When the travel advisory came on March 11 night, the next morning Gopi (national coach Pullela Gopichand) had told us that ‘this has come so let’s not play this match and go back, what do you say?”
“Only Sindhu, Lakshya (Sen) and Sikki (Reddy) and Ashwini (Ponnappa) were there in second round. We decided to stay back and play, Vimal also said let’s play. The reason was when we are already here so one more day won’t make any difference,” he continued supporting his daughter’s decision to play.
- PV Sindhu continued to play in the All England Championships, which was held in Birmingham last week, despite the Indian government announcing travel restrictions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic
- The pandemic has caused more than 10,000 deaths since being discovered in China, infecting over 2,34,000 worldwide.
- Many Tokyo Olympics qualifiers and training trips to abroad have been cancelled due to travel restrictions because of coronavirus.
Many athletes, including London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal, were outrageous at All England Open 2020 organisers’ decision of going ahead with the tournament. Sindhu decided to play instead. Nehwal exited All England Open after a 1st-round loss. She tweeted, “Only thing I can think of is that rather than the players welfare n feelings, financial reasons were given more importance. Otherwise there was no other reason for the #AllEnglandOpen2020 to go on last week (sic).”
Sindhu stayed and played
On 11 March, the government issued travel restriction and cancelled all visas till 15 April. Sindhu was aware of the restrictions that clearly stated Indian nationals returning to the country from affected countries would be quarantined for 14 days. She opted to stay and play further, making it to the quarterfinals where she eventually lost to Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara.
“In England no one was wearing masks but we wore masks when we went out of hotel, in the stadium, all through our travelling. We took necessary precautions like disinfecting the seats in flights with wipes and removing masks only when necessary like eating,” said Ramana.
“We were worried that we may have a running nose due to the cold weather there but we took precautions like doing breathing exercises and having hot water with Tulsi leaves,” he added.
Now in self-solation, Ramana said he is trying to motivate Sindhu in maintaining her fitness despite having no access to gym. “Me and Sindhu are in self-isolation now. We are not meeting anyone. My elder daughter also stays near our house but we are not visiting each other,” he said.
“It is important to isolate for 10 days at least. I am trying to guide Sindhu in maintaining her fitness by doing some exercises at the terrace and jogging at the nearby road,” he added.