Bengaluru, March 20: India's Parupalli Kashyap fumes at International Olympic Committee (IOC) statement which encouraged athletes to continue training for the Tokyo Olympics as a joke, saying it "makes no sense" as government has shut down all training centres due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite growing calls to defer the Olympics, the IOC on Wednesday (March 18) said it expects the Games to begin as planned from July 24 and encouraged "all athletes to continue to prepare for Tokyo 2020 as best they can."
Kashyap, a 2014 Commonwealth Games champion and a former top 10 player, took to social media to vent his frustration at IOC.
"IOC is encouraging us to continue training .. and how? Where? Ur joking right," Kashyap wrote on his Twitter handle.
IOC is encouraging us to continue training .. and how ? Where ? Ur joking right 🤔🤔🤷🏻♂️ https://t.co/xQIY7LEuoK— Parupalli Kashyap (@parupallik) March 18, 2020
Kashyap, who is currently ranked world no 25, is in self-isolation following his return from Birmingham after participating at the All England Championship.
The SAI-Gopichand academy in Hyderabad, where Indian shuttlers train, has been shut down till March 31 to contain the virus following the directive of the Telangana state government.
"Firstly, it isn't decided yet who's Tokyo bound, next for players who have already made the cut there's no training centre open because we are following the govt rules of isolation which is necessary for the safety of all. So the statement of continuing training makes no sense."
The Olympic qualification period ends on April 28 with the top 16 players in singles making the cut for Tokyo Games.
I wanted to address another topic regarding the situation with the Coronavirus and the Olympic qualification period and the no. of tournaments which are doubtful to be held . We all had 7 events starting from Spain masters until the Singapore open n few have the Asian Champs too.— Parupalli Kashyap (@parupallik) February 29, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has so far claimed over 9000 lives and infected more than 2,00,000 people worldwide, leading to cancellation and postponement of sporting events across the globe.
Kashyap along with Saina Nehwal had recently urged the world body to freeze the ranking points and suspend all tournaments. The pair were also critical of the world body for conducting the All England Championships despite the growing COVID-19 cases in the UK.