With a pandemic raging outside and the Olympics in the balance through the start of the summer, Sai Praneeth says the itch to play again had crept up his skin in May after initially making peace with constraints of a home-bound lockdown.
Confidence steered Jwala and Ashwini, and in turn India, towards their first-ever doubles World Championship medal for badminton in 2011 at Wembley and kicked off a decade in which singles stars PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal would follow the trailblazing duo onto the Worlds podiums every single Championship year.
55-year-old Anna, as he was lovingly called, a cook at the SAI Bengaluru campus for the last 23 years, was found to have tested positive for Covid-19 post-death. Anju Bobby George remembers him as a caring soul always ready to fill athletes’ hungry stomachs.
“It is an elite event. Only the best players in the world. They would never risk their reputation,” said David Llada of FIDE, adding that the world body would do everything technology permits to guarantee that conditions for the event are not corrupted by those participating.
The 18-year-old landed back home in Indore last week just as the American outbreak was set to rise, cutting short his freshman's year taking the first direct flight out of Newark into Mumbai, avoiding any European layover.