Bengaluru: Last month at the 41st Junior National Badminton Championship held at Udupi, Akhilesh Das Gupta, President of the Badminton Association of India, had raised hopes of a junior ac-ademy to be set up in Udupi.
Refreshingly, the move has taken a step forward as the academy which has already been approved has also received an initial funding from the BAI. But Gupta, who made it clear that BAI can only help out but it’s up to the state to show initiative to turn it into a success, is also keen to develop the sport in the North East.
“We are keen to develop the North East. But to be honest BAI can’t provide infrastructure in all the places, we have to depend on the state or colleges or even private funding for support,” said Gupta.
“We have also announced a junior academy in Udupi, but provided the State government and association also come forward. What we can do is give technical support and send some international coach there along with other coaches. Thereon the shuttlers can be sent for higher training to Lucknow, Hyderabad and then maybe international training later,” said Gupta, who is in the city for the Bengaluru leg of the Premier Badminton League.
“We have already given the Udupi district Rs 5 lakh for the academy. They have a court but they need a good team and they also have to invite junior players. Since Prakash Padukone is from there, we can also invite him to visit. BAI can’t be everywhere, we can help and promote but everyone has to chip in,” added the president.
Also in an initiative to boost the popularity of the game, BAI has roped in a few international coaches. “We are getting seven international coaches and should join by February. There will be one or two coaches assigned to Bangalore and then for Lucknow and Hyderabad.”
‘PBL is a great achievement’
On the sidelines of PBL-2, BAI president Akhilesh Das Gupta was happy with the response.
“The response has been good and I think the league is doing very good, especially for the Indian shuttlers. This league is supposed to be the best and biggest in the world; I don’t say that but the BWF says it’s the best,” said Gupta. “It’s a great achievement for our country. In badminton there are so many major countries like China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea. But we have taken this leap and started the league and it has been a great opportunity for our shuttlers.
“We have more than eight Olympians and our own top players are there, and we hope to make it eight teams in the coming years. Moreover, now BWF is going for the 11-point format. Since we started this 11-point format in the league it’s going to be an added advantage for us.”...