The athletes will prepare for the upcoming Olympic Games.

Eight Indian badminton players, who are hopeful of the Tokyo Olympics qualification, have started their training in the national camp being held at the Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy in Hyderabad.

The decision was taken by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) after getting clearance for the national camp from the Telangana government on August 1 allowing resumption of sporting activities from August 5.

The eight athletes who have started training at the academy are PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Srikanth Kidambi, Ashwini Ponnappa, B Sai Praneeth, Chirag Shetty, Satwiksairaj and N. Sikki Reddy.

Speaking about the resumption of the camp, national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand said, “I am very happy to have our elite shuttlers back for on-field training after this long break. We are fully equipped to resume training in a safe environment.”

In a statement, SAI informed, “To ensure complete safety of athletes and proper social distancing norms during the training, the academy has been divided into colour zones wherein only athlete and coaches will be allowed to access the green zone or the field of play, while there are different zones earmarked for support staff and administrative staff who will have no access to the field of play.”

“The training will be conducted in keeping with the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and the Standard Operating Procedure drawn up by SAI, alongside the state government’s regulations.”

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Numerous national camps have already been cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) postponed the training camp last week after a coach tested positive for coronavirus at the Dr Karni Singh shooting range in New Delhi.

Four hockey players, who reported for the national camp at the SAI centre in Bengaluru, tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday.

“Manpreet Singh, Surender Kumar, Jaskaran Singh and Varun Kumar, who reported to the national hockey camp in Sports Authority of India’s National Centre of Excellence (NCOE) in Bengaluru along with the team, after a home break, have tested COVID positive,” SAI said in a statement.

However, all the players are safe and are undergoing quarantine as per guidelines to stop the spread of the virus.