Gopi takes badminton online amid lockdown

April 4, 2020

BadmintonPullela Gopichand


With the courts out of bound due to the lockdown to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, Indian badminton has gone online — chief national coach Pullela Gopichand is handing out tips through videos to the country’s top shuttlers.

Staying away from the game can affect the fitness of the players, so Gopichand has started putting in place a program for the shuttlers on Whatsapp. “We can only do fitness (training) because nobody has access to courts so we are doing what we can. I am sending the players videos of what to do in our Whatsapp group,” Gopichand said.

It is a generic program but it is tuned in such a way that it caters to the people (Olympic bound) who are important,” explained the 46-year-old, who is waiting for the three-week isolation period to be over on Saturday.

Fitness classes

Jamshedpur-born trainer Dinaz Vervatwala, who has worked with London Olympics bronze-medallist Saina Nehwal, is also providing fitness classes to the Indian shuttlers using an application for video communication.

The men’s doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, who were assured of a place in the Olympics, is also part of the group which is following the tips. “Gopi sir sends us program schedule everyday on Whatsapp. It involves mainly meditation, wall practice where I hit the shuttle on the wall, play my strokes and drives, which helps to strengthen the forearm,” Shetty said. “We are also doing at least an hour of training in the evening with a trainer. Dinaz does a video-call through zoom app and everybody joins in and then we practise together.”

Talking about the programs, Rankireddy said: “Gopi sir’s program is a combination of a lot of things like wall practice, skipping, small exercises, breathing exercises, it is more like simulating the actions whatever is possible at home to stay sharp. Every alternate day, we also have Dinaz taking our fitness classes. She gives us very interesting and different fitness programs, so it is fun.”

“Almost everyone is there… Sikki (Reddy), Ashwini (Ponnappa), Sai (B Sai Praneeth), Guru (RMV Gurusaidutt), Kashyap (Parupalli) and (HS) Prannoy,” he added. — PTI

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