World champion PV Sindhu was in UK, competing at the prestigious All England Championships when the coronavirus was wreaking havoc in China, Italy and Spain. It hadn’t spread its tentacles as widely as it has now with several top shuttlers from across the world participating at the annual event. Also Read - Kejriwal Warns of Action Against Private Hospitals Denying COVID-19 Treatment, Urges Asymptomatic People to Not Test
However, the situation changed dramatically so much so that Sindhu called up Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju seeking his advise on whether to leave the tournament midway and return home. Also Read - AIIMS PG Entrance Exams 2020: Admit Cards Issued, Download From aiimsexams.org
“When we were in England, the situation wasn’t as bad there as it was in countries like Italy and Spain,” Sindhu told Bombay Times. “Yes, there was a lot being said about coronavirus but I decided to focus on my game and nothing else. It was only after I came back home that I realised how serious it is. I have not stepped out since.” Also Read - Sonu Sood Sends 173 Migrants to Dehradun on Plane, Says 'Most of Them Never Travelled by Air'
India is under a 21-day lockdown with the number of people infected by the virus crossing 1000. Globally, the count has crossed 7,00,000 and left over 31,000 dead.
Naturally, the sporting world has also come to a halt with the biggest casualty of it being the Tokyo Olympics which now will be held next year. Sindhu called it the right decision considering the severity of the crisis and also because the athletes weren’t in the right frame of mind as tournaments were being cancelled due to the pandemic.
“At this time, safety of the players and public is what matters the most,” Sindhu, who had already qualified for the Olympics, said. “As athletes, we work hard for four years to prepare for the Olympics and naturally, this situation is not ideal. But we’re dealing with a global pandemic and everything else, including sports, must take a backseat.”
She added, “Honestly, with so many tournaments getting cancelled, the rhythm of athletes was getting affected. Regardless of qualification, you need to keep playing tournaments so that you’re in the best shape and rhythm when the Olympics start. It was the right decision to postpone the Olympics.”
So how is she spending her time indoors?
“Fitness is very important for any athlete and I continue to work hard on it,” she said. “I do a range of exercises every day at home. I can’t play badminton now, but I’m doing shadow training to practise my shots. I also do video-calls with my coach and keep working on my skill sets and range so that I’m ready to go back on court whenever things become normal again. But the most important thing right now is to deal with coronavirus and for that, we must all stay home and stay safe.”