Family and fitness are Gopichand’s mantra for shuttlers under lockdown
Indian badminton national coach Pullela Gopichand is using the lockdown period to catch up with his family.
It’s the same kind of positive approach that the 46-year-old wants his shuttlers to adopt amid the coronavirus outbreak.
With the Tokyo Olympics postponed by a year, no immediate tournaments on the horizon and regular training restricted, Pullela Gopichand has shifted his priorities.
“I am just spending time with the family,” Gopichand told the IANS agency. “Doing my bits of yoga and meditation and trying to maintain a fitness regime apart from interacting with the players.”
He remains particularly at calm with the impasse because he believes that the break will have no bearing on the qualification chances of the Indian badminton players.
“If the Olympics were postponed only by a few months I would have been concerned about players’ practice but since it’s a year we still have time,” Pullela Gopichand told the IANS agency.
“It is the same situation for most players around the world so it’s an even playground.”
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) had announced on Tuesday the suspension of all competitions till July after the world rankings were recently frozen and the qualification cut-off date postponed.
The All England Open was the last tournament to be held following which the sporting community went into lockdown.
A long injury break
The postponement of the Tokyo Olympics has also been a blessing in disguise for athletes who have been plagued with injury for the past few months, as they will get ample time to get back on the saddle.
Parupalli Kashyap is one of the Indian shuttlers who has been struggling for form with recurring injuries. The 33-year-old had to leave the court with an injury during his first-round clash against Indonesia’s Shesar Hiren Rhustavito at the All England Open.
HS Prannoy, meanwhile, admitted that he would be using the break to address his inconsistencies.
Pullela Gopichand has also asked his high profile shuttlers, who are still in contention for a Tokyo Olympics berth, to see this break as a rehabilitation period and spend time with their families.
“For most athletes who have been part of sport for a while, they realise that injuries are a part of it and every time they are injured, they’ve probably been out for a couple of months. So they could just treat this as a long injury break,” Gopichand explained.
“I would say let’s just stay positive and as fit as we can be. Players always complain that they don’t have time to do certain things at home and so let’s use this time to do all that,” he pointed out.