Saina Nehwal to join SAI academy only after a couple of weeks despite approval from government


Saina Nehwal will only join the national camp at the Sports Authority of India’s Pullela Gopichand academy after a couple of weeks. The Telangana government had approved Nehwal to train at the academy from August 7 after restrictions were lifted at the start of this month. 

The Olympic bronze medalist has currently been training at a different centre not far away from SAI’s academy. Fellow shuttler husband Parupalli Kashyap and Commonwealth Games bronze medal winner RMV Gurusaidutt accompany Nehwal in training.

Nehwal was one of the Olympic hopefuls alongside seven others who were allowed to train at the SAI Pullela Gopichand Academy by the Sports Authority of India. However, the shuttler decided to keep training away from the SAI camp. Kashyap stated that Saina Nehwal has recently joined and will focus on fitness before moving to the national camp in a few weeks time, he said:

“We have been training at a centre near the Gopichand academy for a week now. It is a small facility. We started with the basics as it was after a long time that we were hitting the court,” Kashyap, a former Commonwealth Games champion, told PTI.

Kashyap also added that the 30-year-old has already sought permission from Pullela Gopichand and also her new coach. He added:

“Saina has just joined. She will probably start training at the Gopichand academy in a couple of weeks. She wants to get fitter and reach a decent level. She has sought the permission of Gopi sir and discussed it with new Indonesian coach Agus Dwi Santoso,” he added.

Kashyap feels SAI’s centre could nest more players apart from Saina 

With three out of the eight Olympic hopefuls not present in Hyderabad at the moment, Kashyap feels that the centre could host more players. He said:

“Out of eight players, Chirag, Satwik and Ashwini are not in Hyderabad right now so basically only 4-5 players are training. There are nine courts and players generally train for an hour or two, so I think few more players can be allowed to train there,” 

The London Olympics quarterfinalist also added that the risk is low since there is minimal contact in the sport. He added:

“Since badminton is not a contact sport so it can be done. In Bangalore, everyone is training and you need good sparring partners. How long can just eight players train?”. 

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