Weeks before the start of the badminton competition at the Tokyo Olympic Games, Indian pair -- Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy -- has shifted their base, from SAI Gopichand National Badminton Academy to Gachibowli Stadium in Hyderabad. (More Badminton News)
The latest development came on the heels of another Tokyo-bound shuttler, PV Sindhu's decision to leave the academy run by the legendary Pullela Gopichand, who is also the chief national coach.
According to reports, Shetty and Rankireddy have already started training at Gachibowli, which is similar to Tokyo's badminton venue. That's one valid reason, but not many will discount the politics angle.
"The badminton matches of the Tokyo Olympics will be played at the Musashino Forest Sport Plaza located in Chofu, Tokyo. It is similar in capacity and size to the Gachibowli Stadium," Sportskeeda reported quoting a source.
The men's doubles pair has been preparing for the Olympics under Mathias Boe. The Danish legend was hired by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) under its Mission Olympic Cell in January. Shetty and Rankireddy are among the four Indian shuttlers to have qualified for the Tokyo Games. They are currently ranked 10th in the world.
"It is a collective decision of the players, coaches and authorities to train at the Gachibowli Stadium. The move will help the duo when they compete in the Olympics,” the source added.
As reported earlier, Sindhu has already moved out of the Gopichand Academy and revealed that Gachibowli will continue to be her base even after the Tokyo Olympics. Founded in 2008, Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad has been the nursery for Indian badminton. Almost all Indian stars have trained here.
“See, when we have a facility of international standard why not use that. If you want to compete against the best players you have to ensure that everything is perfect in training and build up to those events," the Rio silver medallist said in a virtual media interaction.
The 25-year-old also highlighted the advantage of having bigger, better training facilities. "Wherever we go out to play any major event we do so in bigger stadiums. There are a lot of facilities in Gachibowli where I’m training now."
Badminton competitions start on July 24. Sindhu is seeded 6th at Tokyo Olympics.
In the men's singles event, B. Sai Praneeth will represent India. He is seeded 13th. He trains at the Gopichand Academy.