Indian shuttler PV Sindhu will not be attending the two-week national camp for Asian Games and will train separately with new coach Muhammad Hafiz Hashim of Malaysia.
It has been reliably learnt that the former world champion has been granted exemption by the authorities and will train at the Gachibowli Stadium and Suchitra Academy.
The Badminton Association of India (BAI) had organised a ‘mandatory’ camp at the Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy (PGBA) from September 11-24 for the 19 shuttlers bound for Hangzhou.
Only those playing in Badminton World Federation (BWF) tournaments were to be exempted. Many of the 19, like Lakshya Sen, Tanisha Crasto, Ashwini Ponnappa among others, are currently playing the Hong Kong Open and will only join after returning. The badminton contingent will leave for China on September 24 as their events begin on September 28.
Sindhu, on the other hand, is currently in the United States where she was invited by technology major Apple at the unveiling of the Made in India iPhone 15.
Sindhu has had a pretty underwhelming year so far, exiting in the first two rounds of tournaments 10 out of 15 times with only one final appearance at Spain Masters in April. Following her Round 2 exit at the World Championships last month, Sindhu decided to skip BWF World Tour tournaments and train for the Asian Games.
In the meantime, the 28-year-old also made a trip to Bengaluru to attend a Li Ning, who also sponsor her kit, event. There, Sindhu caught up with badminton great and Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ) founder and director Prakash Padukone.
“OGQ is one of Sindhu’s main sponsors. Knowing she was in Bengaluru, Prakash sir invited her to train at his academy where he gave her his inputs. Sindhu trained in Bengaluru for five days. Hafiz too was there,” said a person privy to the information.
It has also been learnt that Sindhu could visit the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy (PPBA) again in future.
Sindhu’s trip, even though short, is reminiscent of former world No.1 Saina Nehwal’s shift of base from Hyderabad to Bengaluru in 2014. It was under PPBA head coach Vimal Kumar that Saina achieved world No.1 status, reached the All England Open final and became the first Indian to reach a World Championship final.
“Change of coaches will help if you feel something is not working under some coach. Change of atmosphere also helps sometimes. You need to try it out. What I felt at that point of time was that at the end of my career I should not feel bad that I didn’t try something new. I should not have that regret,” Saina said at a Harvest Gold Global Race event here on Wednesday.
“I tried it and reached world No.1 and the World Championships final after playing five quarter-finals. Somewhere my mind stopped thinking if I can ever cross quarter-finals. But I did it after the change. It is required for a player. And why not? It is your career. After all, it is you who will sit and think what I have achieved in my career. So changes are always good if they help.”