Editor Image Courtesy:
Revanth Reddy T
11 Aug, 2020
As the entire world gets to grips with the post-Covid scenario, the badminton courts themselves wear a completely different look. Sikki Reddy and some of her peers have resumed training at the National Camp for Olympics hopefuls in Hyderabad, and while the excitement is indeed palpable, the fact that this is now the new normal is just as unmistakable.
Currently training under the watchful eyes of Chief National Coach Pullela Gopichand and Coach Namrih Suroto, Sikki has resumed training alongside singles specialists PV Sindhu and B Sai Praneeth. Expressing her excitement at returning to the court almost after four months, Sikki said, she is delighted to be back on the court and looking forward to stepping up the intensity over the next couple of weeks.
“Everyone is just so happy to resume things. Right now, there’s just me, coach Namrih Suroto and a couple of Indonesians for sparring. So, the idea is to go slow and steady," says Sikki.
Looking back at the time away from the sport, Sikki recalls that yes it was difficult, never since she started playing badminton as a child, has she spent four months away from the court. But then it was something she, or anyone else for that matter had any choice or control about. And as someone who takes life as it comes, she took things in her stride and moved along.
“Well, there was little I could do. And in such situations, you just have to look at the bigger picture. Everyone was worried about life & safety, for the well-being of loved ones. And I just made the most of the time by spending time with my husband, and family,” says the 2018 Commonwealth champion.
Sikki had been at the All England Championships in Birmingham when the full force of the Corona Virus pandemic took the world into a global lockdown.
Following a stellar performance for her home franchise the Hyderabad Hunters in the Premier Badminton League, she had been training in Spain prior to All England and had her sights on the India Open to follow; with the big season ahead to continue with the Olympics being the marquee event for her.
“Yeah, we all had our plans, my training in Spain had been great, I was feeling good. All the plans were in place for the season. But everything then changed so quickly.
“We landed just after All England, the lockdown was in place, and four months later here we are, in a completely different kind of world,” says Sikki.
One thing that sure has kept her busy over these locked down times has been social media, and she has a very loyal fanbase. And she knows how to keep them engaged. She even took over the BWF handles for a day and from the looks of it, had a fabulous time with it. She’s also done her bit encouraging youngsters from various walks of life, delivering online motivation classes, and pep talks for students.
Now back on court, Sikki has her feet firmly on the ground and sights on the future, as she awaits clarity from the world body, BWF, on the resumption of tournaments. She’s also looking forward to joining up with her colleagues and her doubles partner, Ashwini Ponnappa.
"There is no point for her to come now as there is no clarity about tournaments and also quarantine rules. Things will take some time, may be couple of weeks. Let's see how it goes as even one case will set us back," says Sikki being cautiously optimistic.
Ask her if anything has changed from the way she approaches training now, not really, she tells you. She remains just as focussed, just as committed and just as eager to pull on the Indian tricolor on her jersey and get back to representing the country on the world stage.