Other Sports

Something radical needs to be done: Gopi

India’s badminton coach P. Gopi Chand wants BWF to come up with “radical” solutions to restart the sport smoothly post COVID-19, suggesting that conducting more tournaments at a single venue could be the way forward.

The coronavirus outbreak forced the Badminton World Federation (BWF) to suspend all events, including the Olympic qualifiers, till end of July. “BWF should talk to health staff and revise the format, the tournament structure itself and do whatever is required,” Gopi said. “My view is if something radical needs to be done, then let’s do it and go ahead with the sport,” he said.

In a bid to salvage the international circuit, the governing body had postponed important events such as the Thomas and Uber Cup Final (October 3-11), besides asking for fresh slots from respective countries, including India, to conduct the suspended Olympic qualifiers.

“My concern is that, you are trying to shift the dates, probably there needs to be a change in thinking. If the same thing continues, and the whole entourage is travelling again to different countries then it is again a risk for the players,” Gopi said.

Shuttlers travel almost every week to a new tournament during the badminton season. Gopi said this should change.

The Sports Ministry is devising a plan for phase-wise resumption of national camps for Olympic-bound athletes by the end of this month.

Asked how he plans to go about it, as he, besides being the national coach, also runs an Academy, Gopi said: “Luckily, badminton is not a contact sport, so it is better.

“Isolating smaller groups, and ensuring that people don’t interact too much is one way of at least starting things.”

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Printable version | Jun 16, 2021 12:42:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/something-radical-needs-to-be-done-gopi/article31560678.ece

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