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PV Sindhu keeps her focus on All England Championships amid coronavirus outbreak

New Delhi, March 7: Ace India shuttler PV Sindhu feels the coronavirus outbreak is a serious threat but she keeps herself focussed on doing well in the upcoming All England Badminton Championships, starting March 11.

While talking to media persons on the sidelines of the Times of India Sports Awards in New Delhi, the world number six in single's category, said, "The preparations for All England championships are going on. Yes, a lot of events are being cancelled (in the wake of corona outbreak) but the All England is still on. So, I am focussing on that. But at the end of the day, it's the government's decision on what to do and what not to do.

The prestigious All England, season's first World Tour Super 1000 tournament, is a title that is missing from her cabinet and the 24-year-old said she's hopeful of doing well this time around.

"As I told German Open and Swiss Open tournaments are cancelled but All England is still on so I hope I'll give my best," said Sindhu, who lost in the semi-final of All England in 2018 to Japan's Akane Yamaguchi.

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Top shuttlers, including H S Prannoy and world no 10 men's pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy have pulled out of All England, which counts towards qualification for Tokyo 2020. But the likes of Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth, Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy and Pranaav Jerry Chopra will be participating in the tournament.

When asked about any particular areas of her game she's working on, the BWF World Champion 2019 said, "I am working on my all strokes and also working keeping myself mentally and physically fit. To focus on all strokes, it's important to practice them every day and that's I've been doing.

When asked if she made any changes in her lifestyle to prevent coronavirus.

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"Yes, as you know everybody should take precautions like keep washing your hands regularly, avoid contact with people who are suffering from cold and flu. So, I think these the precautions that you need to take for yourself and of course, you should use masks."

Asked if it is a matter of concern for the athletes that despite being an Olympic year, the focus now is on coronavirus.

"Yes, but since this virus is widely spreading to various parts of the world one can't really help it. Japan is also badly infected with this so we don't know what will actually happen (if the games are going to be organised or not). A few tournaments have already been cancelled but a few are still on, so we have to wait and watch," said the Rio Olympics silver-medallist.

Asked about her thoughts requests of Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth to the BWF to defer the Olympic qualifications as many of the qualifying tournaments are postponed or cancelled, she said, "As I am in the top-16 so there is no problem for me but it is tougher for those who are yet to qualify as far as the others are concerned."

When asked about her thoughts on the new foreign coach, Agus Dwi Santoso, who will be joining the team after All England, Sindhu told she's met him a couple of times in the past and really looking forward to it.

"I've met him a couple of times in the past, he's worked with the Thailand team. It's a really good opportunity for every one of us. But we'll have to see if he's for the boys or girls. So, we'll have to figure that out.

Indonesian coach Santoso will be assisting India's singles badminton players, including Olympic silver-medallist P V Sindhu, from next month as they prepare for the Tokyo 2020.

Asked if the women's singles competition in Tokyo will be tougher than what it was during Rio Olympics, Sindhu said, "In Rio, it was a competitively different and now also it's different so you can't really compare. A lot of talented players have come up and but I won't say that the competition is tougher than Rio," she signed off.

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Story first published: Saturday, March 7, 2020, 12:22 [IST]
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