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When Sindhu decided to play on at All England despite COVID-19 threat

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New Delhi, Mar 20 :  P V Sindhu was given the choice of pulling out of All England Championships after the Indian government’s travel restrictions came into force but the Olympic silver-medallist decided to play on despite the chaos triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On March 11, the government issued a revised travel advisory, cancelling all visas till April 15 and making it clear that Indian nationals returning to the country from affected countries would be quarantined for 14 days. England is among the most-affected by coronavirus outbreak, which has caused more than 9,000 deaths across the world.

“When the travel advisory came on March 11 night, the next morning Gopi (national coach Pullela Gopichand) had told us that ‘this has come so let’s not play this match and go back, what do you say?'” Sindhu’s father PV Ramana told PTI.

“Only Sindhu, Lakshya (Sen) and Sikki (Reddy) and Ashwini (Ponnappa) were there in second round. We decided to stay back and play, Vimal also said let’s play. The reason was when we are already here so one more day won’t make any difference,” he added.

The advisory caused significant confusion and concern among the top Indian shuttlers, who were in Birmingham for the tournament with Parupalli Kashyap sending an SOS to the government asking for clarity on the situation.

The opening day of the season’s first 1000 event had just gotten over and only Sindhu, Lakshya and women’s doubles combination of Reddy and Ponnappa were still in fray after Saina Nehwal, Kashyap, and B Sai Praneeth fell at the first hurdle.

While Lakhsya lost to Viktor Axelsen in the second round, Sindhu entered the quarterfinals where she eventually lost to Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara the next day.

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