The much-awaited national badminton camp is likely to get underway on August 5, 2021, a top official of the Badminton Association of India (BAI) said on Monday.
BAI general secretary Ajay Kumar Singhania said the sport's national governing body was seriously considering restarting badminton activities in the country soon. BAI has already informed affiliated state units their plans to hold Senior Ranking tournaments in the second half of August. BAI also asked state units to encourage players from their regions to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Speaking to Sportskeeda, Ajay Kumar Singhania said:
“We are eager to get back to the action as soon as possible. The national badminton coaching camp will begin in the first week of August. We have already sent the letter to the Sports Authority of India (SAI) for their approval. We are hoping to get the necessary approval from the SAI in the next few days."
BAI is hopeful of SAI’s approval within a week. Once they get the green signal, they will formally inform the players about the camp. BAI has also alerted the centres of the camp. All the top players, including Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth, HS Prannoy and Ashwini Ponnappa, will be part of the camp.
“We are tentatively planning to start the national camp on August 5. It will be held in three cities - Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Guwahati. As soon as we get the go-ahead from SAI, we will inform the concerned authorities at the three centers to prepare for the camp. The official letters will also be sent to the participating players. Around 75 players will be part of the national camp, which will be divided in three places,” said Singhania.
The national camp will be held in accordance with COVID-19 protocols: Ajay Singhania
The BAI general secretary said the camp at the three centers will be held strictly in accordance with COVID-19 protocols. Ever since the pandemic started early last year, badminton activities, including national camps, have remained suspended. The national camp will start after a gap of more than a year.
BAI made an effort to hold the camp in September last year but could not do so. The camp for the shuttlers preparing for the Thomas and Uber Cup was slated to be held at the SAI-Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad from September 7 to 27, 2020.
However, the camp was scrapped after the players were denied any relaxation during the mandatory seven-day quarantine period. Due to the pandemic, SAI wanted all 26 players to be in quarantine for at least a week before training, which was rejected by the players and BAI.
After the cancellation of the camp, the Badminton World Federation on September 15, 2020, indefinitely postponed the Thomas and Uber Cup, scheduled to be held in Aarhus, Denmark, from October 3 to 12.