Exclusive: Can We Play or Not? Parupalli Kashyap Expresses Confusion and Concern Over Coronavirus Situation

Parupalli  Kashyap (Photo Credit: @parupallikashyap)

Parupalli Kashyap (Photo Credit: @parupallikashyap)

Parupalli Kashyap said the Indian team in Birmingham for All England Championships is completely confused after the new health advisory was released to tackle coronavirus.

New Delhi: India's badminton star Parupalli Kashyap, who is currently in Birmingham with a number of top shuttlers for the All England Championships, has expressed confusion and concern with the new health advisory released by the Indian Government to tackle coronavirus.

Kashyap took to Twitter to send an SOS to the government asking for clarity over the situation and News18.com got in touch with the shuttler to get further insight into the confusion that they are all in.

Kashyap, Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth, PV Sindhu, Ashwini Ponnappa, N Sikki Reddy, B Sai Praneeth, Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Lakshya Sen are in Birmingham along with the national team staff and are now struggling to understand the situation they are in.

"We have a tournament in Switzerland next week in Basel and currently all the tournaments are set to take place as scheduled. The Olympic qualification time is also set so we have to play. We don't even know what we are supposed to do once we come back," Kashyap told News18.com.

Kashyap expressed concerns around the India Open, which is set to take place in New Delhi from March 24 to 29, and whether they will be put in quarantine upon return to India because in that case, "we can't play India Open and Malaysia Open the week after that."

"First question is whether we will be quarantined upon return to India. Second, if not then can we go to Malaysia for the Malaysia Open because we have an existing visa. Everything is a question mark right now.

"After the release of the health advisory, all of us in the Indian team discussed and I put out the tweet so that someone can get us the contact because we are all confused. Today, our coach said whoever has a realistic chance to qualify for the Olympics should stay and rest should leave.

"The question is who is going to be quarantined, one who shows some sort of symptoms or anybody who enters India will be put in quarantine? It is also about the countries visited. We were in Spain till February 23 even though we came back to India in 3-4 days before leaving for UK, but what happens to that now?" Kashyap laid out the concerns of the shuttlers.

Kashyap further said that the Olympic qualification period is not being increased and that BWF is "not helping at all".

A few days ago, Saina and Kashyap had expressed concerns over Olympic qualifying events being cancelled due to coronavirus and had also asked BWF to extend the period.

"If we are home-quarantined, we have a tournament in Delhi, can we play that or not?"

Kashyap further shared that international stars like Viktor Axelsen and Carolina Marin were also enquiring whether they could come to India and play the India Open.

"Also existing visas are getting suspended. Yesterday (Wednesday), Viktor Axelsen asked me if he can play since he got his visa done for the India Open last week. The same is the case with Carolina Marin. They are asking if they can play or if they enter, they will be quarantined? If we Indians who are travelling from here (England) will also be quarantined, what happens to India Open?

"I am sure no one knows anything because all these developments as we speak but I have to express my concerns. But I understand there is a lot of chaos. I don't understand people asking everyone not to panic, all these situations for us is also a hassle. NBA has suspended the season, football matches are being cancelled, postponed and behind closed doors. Next week, Swiss Open badminton will be behind closed doors and in Delhi, it may happen behind closed doors as well. We don't know anything."

Kashyap said people in England are very casual about the situation as was seen by the attendance at Anfield for Liverpool's Champions League game on Thursday and by the number of people that attended the All England on Wednesday.

"In the arena also, I can see one hand sanitizer in the practice hall and one in the arena and that's it.

"Now we are also hearing that the cases are more in people aged over 50. I have to go home and meet my parents who are over 60 years old. My dad is 70 and diabetic. I am asthmatic so I don't know how it's going to affect me. We don't want to infect our parents and put them in trouble. We are all in confusion. We are doing the usual things of keeping out hands clean and away from the faces and wearing masks but the situation around the virus is serious."

Kashyap expressed that the uncertainty has been a huge distraction and "is affecting the motivation and preparation" of the shuttlers.

"Suddenly you are not sure whether the tournament is going to be held or what is going to happen in the next few weeks and just blindly preparing. It is an unusual situation."