The sports department, in a meeting hosted by the Badminton Association of India and some of India’s top athletes to prepare for the Tokyo Olympic Games, has discussed the start of a campaign to vaccinate athletes bound for the Tokyo Olympics from next month.
The meeting, chaired by sports secretary Ravi Mittal, was attended by PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth, B Sai Praneeth, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty on Friday. TOPS chief executive Rajesh Rajagopalan and BAI Secretary Ajay Singhania were also present.
Badminton’s Olympic qualifying season, suspended in March last year due to Covid-19, will resume with the Swiss Open from March 2-7, followed by the German Open (March 9-14) and will advance to the India Open in May.
The players have been told that the department will try to start a vaccination program next month. Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju has already said that athletes, coaches and staff working on the Olympics will be vaccinated against the Department’s priorities. The Indian vaccination phase was launched on January 16 with a strong focus on health care and advanced care.
At the meeting, players asked about the interval between the two characters as they will be overseas on tour next month. There should be a 28-day gap between the two doses of Covid-19 vaccine.
When contacted, BAI secretary Singhania said no dates had been finalized. “The department has said it will only try to vaccinate athletes who are committed to the Olympics from next month,” he said.
Chirag Shetty, who was part of the meeting, said he would like to get the goal early.
“I will definitely take it, even if it works 90%. It will be a great relief, especially to see the situation the Indian team is facing in Thailand.
The Indian players had to withdraw and our participation was questionable. If we are vaccinated and develop the immune system we will not face such conditions. We don’t want to go through all of this with a focus on Olympic qualifying, ”he said.
One-room accommodation with better injury management
The Indian rivalry had a difficult time during the Asian leg in Thailand, playing three tournaments back and forth, thanks to strong Covid contracts. The whole team was declared a serious threat and coaches and physios were not allowed on the field on the first day after Saina Nehwal and HS Prannoy were tested and found. They were removed later after antibody confirmation as both had recently recovered from Covid.
In the second week, Srikanth was forced to withdraw under certain conditions, after his roommate B Sai Praneeth was found to be infected, which was later mistaken. BAI then spoke to the international body and reduced Srikanth’s solitary confinement to 14 days so that he could participate in the Super Series Finals.
At the meeting, the players asked, in order to avoid such situations, a single seat, which was accepted.
“We will see that they are given one-room apartments from the future and all security measures are being taken,” Singhania said.
Singhania has also written to the BWF about Sai Praneeth’s call for a concerted effort to ensure that Indian athletes do not suffer during the Olympic qualifiers.
BAI’s recommendation to take the lead in the Danish Olympic silver medalists Mathias Boe as a double coach was recently given by SAI. Boe has started training with Satwik and Chirag – who are on the verge of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics – at a national camp in Hyderabad. BAI has asked Boe to welcome second players who play twice as Mr Arjun and Dhruv Kapila, in order to get along with the big team.
“There has been a lot of support from staff and BAI to get Mathias as our coach at this critical time as we prepare for the qualifiers. His experience of duplication and tactical training has been of great benefit to us and we have seen that in our work in Thailand, ”said Chirag, who hosted Boe sessions in Mumbai after the game.
At another BAI meeting with Mission Olympic Cell, injury management was discussed as some of the top athletes were able to access their physios through the TOPS system. Players have been asked to compel the submission reports for the pre-election meetings and before the start of the national camps.