New Delhi: Indian shuttler Parupalli Kashyap has termed International Olympic Committee (IOC)'s statement to encourage athletes to continue training for the Tokyo Games as a joke, saying it "makes no sense" as government has shut down all training centres due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite growing calls to defer the Olympics, the IOC on Wednesday said it expects the Games to begin as planned from July 24 and encouraged "all athletes to continue to prepare for Tokyo 2020 as best they can."
"IOC is encouraging us to continue training .. and how? Where? Ur joking right," Kashyap, a 2014 Commonwealth Games champion and a former top 10 player, wrote on his Twitter handle.
IOC is encouraging us to continue training .. and how ? Where ? Ur joking right ♂️ https://t.co/xQIY7LEuoK
— Parupalli Kashyap (@parupallik) March 18, 2020
Kashyap, who is currently ranked world no 25, is in self-isolation following his return from Birmingham after participating at the All England Championship.
The SAI-Gopichand academy in Hyderabad, where Indian shuttlers train, has been shut down till March 31 to contain the virus following the directive of the Telangana state government.
"Firstly, it isn't decided yet who's Tokyo bound, next for players who have already made the cut there's no training centre open because we are following the govt rules of isolation which is necessary for the safety of all. So the statement of continuing training makes no sense."
The Olympic qualification period ends on April 28 with the top 16 players in singles making the cut for Tokyo Games.
The COVID-19 pandemic has so far claimed over 9000 lives and infected more than 2,00,000 people worldwide, leading to cancellation and postponement of sporting events across the globe.
Kashyap had recently urged the world body to freeze the ranking points and suspend all tournaments. He was also critical of the world body for conducting the All England Championships despite the growing COVID-19 cases in the country.