World Champion PV Sindhu’s father Ramana said it was ‘her decision’ to head to Leicester in the United Kingdom for 8 weeks to get a diet – nutrition assessment done at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute.
“She decided this was the best time to go there,” Sindhu’s management agency CEO Tuhin Mishra of Baseline Ventures said, adding “because there were no competitions scheduled.” “She said she wanted to go,” coach Pullela Gopichand informed, adding, “there’s still lot of time for tournaments. She said she’s going to be back by November.”
Travelling for her sport alone for the first time without either of her parents accompanying her in seven-odd years and with none of the Indian support staff to aid her, PV Sindhu will be camped in UK for another 6 weeks.
Most international shuttlers travel independently, but both Saina Nehwal and Sindhu have been accompanied by parents all these years for tournaments.
The decision to travel and its exact duration might well be the first career-related call taken on her own by the World Champion shuttler, who has tended to rely on her father or coach for all the minutiae of her professional commitments.
It is reliably learnt that Sindhu was in touch with BAI president Himanta Biswa Sarma who facilitated her training with the Badminton England squad and remains in touch with her daily.
While a national daily said a “family rift” had led to Sindhu taking off to the UK, the World No 6 said in a statement: “I came to London a few days back to work on my nutrition and recovery needs with GSSI. Infact I have come here with the consent of my parents and absolutely there were no family rifts in this regard.”
“Why will I have problems/issues with my parents who have sacrificed (in) their lives for my sake. Mine is a very close knitted family and they will always support me. I am in touch with my family members everyday.” “Also I do not have any issues with my coach Mr Gopichand or the training facilities at the academy,” she added.
It was in March this year during the All England that Rebecca Randell of the Gatorade Sports Institute, also a visiting faculty at Loughborough sports university, carried out the first “sweat assessments” on Sindhu at Birmingham. “It happened the day she lost to Okuhara,” Ramana informed.
“This was planned after that.”
While further tests and consults were planned for later at the elite institute, with the rejigged schedule, Sindhu decided she would travel in October after the sponsorship commitments that were lined up.
“Sindhu is Gatorade’s brand ambassador. Just like some of the global names like Messi. So the institute were keen on her travelling to UK for further nutrition assessments that will help in performance enhancements,” Misra who helped ink the deal in March 2017, said.
“It was on the cards – a full diet, nutrition assessment. And because no active tournaments were on due to Covid, she chose this time.”
Sindhu however was keen on aligning this with unbroken on-court training and sought BAI’s help to find a training spot with Badminton England. “She told me she wanted to go, and it was entirely her decision and I was totally fine with it. She said she’s going to be back in November and resume training as usual,” Gopichand said.
While Sindhu has several friends in the Badminton England ranks including doubles couple Chris and Gaby Adcock owing to Premier Badminton League playing for Hyderabad Hunters, she was comfortable to train alongside the England squad.
“She has tweeted what she wanted to say,” father Ramana said, stubbing the controversy.
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