Shuttler Sikki tests negative, camp to resume on Monday
Indian shuttlers and coaches attending the national camp in Hyderabad heaved a sigh of relief on Saturday after doubles exponent N Sikki Reddy and physiotherapist C Kiran tested negative for Covid-19, two days after they tested positive.
The Sports Authority of India (SAI) immediately announced that they would resume the camp—shut on Thursday after the two tested positive—from August 17. “Since all campers are Covid-19 negative, we have decided to go ahead with the camp, following the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). Training will resume at the academy from Monday,” chief national coach Pullela Gopichand said.
All national campers were tested on Tuesday by a SAI selected lab with the results of everyone but Reddy and Kiran coming negative on Wednesday. The two tested positive on Thursday and decided to undergo another RT-PCR test at a private hospital on Friday.
“I don’t know what happened. I know Covid-19 is asymptomatic but I was completely fine, training for three-four hours continuously with full intensity. Doctors were telling me it (earlier report) is not accurate because I never had even a single symptom,” Reddy, who will turn 27 on Tuesday, said from Hyderabad.
Reddy — India’s highest ranked women’s (world No.28 with Ashwini Ponnappa) and mixed doubles (No.27 with Pranaav Jerry Chopra) player—also got her family members tested, all returning negative. The southpaw added that all national campers have been following SOP at the academy and “taking utmost care from the start to the end of the sessions”. “We are not even doing stretching on the floor, no one (from outside) is allowed on the field of play,” she said.
This also puts into question the legitimacy of the tests and the labs conducting them. Both Reddy and Kiran had to undergo a difficult time, get every family members tested in addition to the national camp being closed abruptly.
Sindhu not to join camp immediately
Meanwhile, reigning world champion PV Sindhu has decided that she will not join the camp immediately. “We haven’t received any call yet about the resumption of camp. We will wait for a few days and then see. Till then Sindhu will concentrate on her fitness sessions,” Sindhu’s father PV Ramana said.
Sindhu was considering shifting on-court training to Suchitra Academy—where she does her fitness workouts—from the SAI-Gopichand National Badminton Academy after Reddy and Kiran tested positive.
Even 2012 London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal has been training separately with husband Parupalli Kashyap at another centre in Hyderabad. She will join the camp after gaining more court time.
Men’s doubles world No.10 Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy will continue to monitor the situation in their respective hometowns before deciding to join the camp. “We will most likely join in September,” Shetty said from Mumbai.