Sumansh Sivalanka and Evangline Baddam, physiotherapists for the Indian badminton squad, will not be on the court but will play an important role off it.
Sumansh and Evangeline will face a significant battle at the Tokyo Olympics 2020, as will all four Indian shuttlers who have qualified. The fact that this is their first Olympics as physiotherapists adds to the burden.
Sumansh will look after the remaining three male members of the group, while Evangeline has been assigned to PV Sindhu particularly. For the past three years, Evangeline has worked as a senior sports physiotherapist at the Suchitra Badminton Academy in Hyderabad. Sindhu, a silver medallist at the Rio Olympics, sought Evangeline’s help in her effort to match, if not improve, her medal-winning performance from the previous Olympics. Sindhu was accompanied by Evangline when the tall Hyderabadi shuttler won the 2019 World Championship in Basel.
Sumansh, a more experienced physio, will handle men’s singles standout B Sai Praneeth and world No. 10 men’s doubles combo Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy.
Sumansh, who graduated from Manipal University with a bachelor’s and master’s degree, said that all four shuttlers are in excellent health. On July 16, the nine-member badminton team is expected to fly to Tokyo.
“I’m well-versed in all of them. I’ve been a part of the national camp since 2016, so I’m familiar with all of the players’ bodies and needs. Physiotherapy is crucial in both recovering from and preventing injury. It also significantly enhances your fitness. Badminton necessitates rapid, explosive motions to change direction, jump, lunge, and flick the wrist while remaining balanced. Sumansh explained, “My responsibility is to keep them prepared for the biggest tournament of their lives.”
Sumansh represented India in a number of international tournaments, including the All England Championships, the World Championships, the World Tour Finals, and the Asian Championships.
When Kidambi Srikanth was in dream form in 2017, he was his physiotherapist. Srikanth made history four years ago when he became the first Indian and only the fourth male shuttler in history to win four Super Series titles in a calendar year.
“For the past five to six years, I’ve been traveling to various events with all of the top Indian players. However, this will be my first Olympic Games as a physiotherapist. I realize the work is large, and I must meet everyone’s expectations. Physiotherapists also play an important role in assisting athletes of all ages and abilities in improving their performance. I’m looking forward to the challenge, and I’m convinced that working together, we’ll achieve the best results in Tokyo,” Sumansh added.
At the Gachibowli Stadium, we’re all training together. Sai Praneeth is in fantastic shape and is focused on succeeding. Chirag and Satwik, like Sai, are competing in their first Olympics. On the court, they look fantastic together. During and after the workouts, we all talk about fitness and how to improve it. My job is to keep the athletes in top shape for the Olympics. As a physiotherapist, I have to coordinate with the athletes and coaches,” Sumansh explained.
A good physiotherapist can help you with proper technique and injury prevention during training and games. Sumansh and Evangline will both need to grasp the needs of the players in order to prepare for the medal in Tokyo.