The duo are currently separated and unable to train together.

Exactly a year ago, Badminton duo Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy made their country proud by winning the esteemed Thailand Open by defeating world champions Li Jun Hui and Liu Yu Chen in a hard-fought battle.

But, life hasn’t been easy for the duo since, especially this year. With a lockdown being placed around the country from March, the two haven’t been able to train together and are currently based in their respective hometowns.

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The two normally train at the Pullela Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad, but that has been closed for over four months since the lockdown was placed. While there are plans to eventually open the academy, allowing Olympic hopefuls like Chirag-Satwik to restart training, Chirag is not getting his hopes up.

He told the Times of India, “Right now, it’s better not to plan as such. It will only lead to disappointment because the situation is such that you don’t really know how things are going to be in the next week or maybe tomorrow as well. I think it’s better to take everyday as it comes and not pressurize yourself.”

Similarly, Satwik also opened up on how he’s coping with practicing alone, saying, “Our district is at the top (in number of coronavirus-positive cases) in Andhra Pradesh. But, I have been playing on court. On some days, I just go and play for one hour. It’s a cement court, just a kilometre from my home, where I started playing badminton (as a child). Recently they opened a new court, a synthetic one, but it’s shut at the moment. I played for two weeks on it, one month back.”

However, both will be back to the grind once again very soon and as Chirag is lagging behind Satwik in terms of actual training, he is cautious of the challenge ahead. He explained, “I think definitely that will be a challenge. Once we start practicing together, we will need at least a month and a half to get back to full fitness and then we can think of competing.”

Satwik, however, remains more optimistic about both getting back to full fitness and regaining their chemistry, as he said, “He (Chirag) is doing individual training, I am doing the same thing as well, doing gym training at home. I bought some things my trainer told me to buy. I am following that and he (Chirag) is doing that as well. We have been playing for almost 10 years, so if we are fit physically, then it will be easy for us once we are back on court together.  We won’t get any injuries basically,” he concluded in hopeful fashion.

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