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Challenges persist despite London high

india Updated: Aug 27, 2012 00:11 IST
Anamika Nandedkar
Anamika Nandedkar
Hindustan Times
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This has been the best Olympics for India as far as badminton is concerned. Not only did the players secure four qualification spots, with mixed and women's doubles making their India debut, Saina Nehwal's bronze topped off an amazing London outing.

Things should get better four years from now in Rio de Janerio. It takes time and effort to rise to the high competition levels set by China.

However, Saina makes it look easy. The 22-year-old, who bowed out in the quarters at the 2008 Games, won at least two titles each
year (on some occasions more) between the Bejing and London Olympics.

That made her a strong medal contender and ensured that the government did not hesitate to splurge on the other shuttlers too.

The next four years should be utilised to bridge the gap between Saina and the others. Apart from her, there is no one who can be called a strong contender, though there are a few who can give the best a fight for their money.

Also, there are other issues which need to be addressed, and fast.

Neglected north
The north-south divide is prominent, and a quick look at the draw of previous years' national tournaments will show that players from the southern part are dominant.

The states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra have produced most of the international players in the last six-seven years, as most of the top coaching academies are located in these states.

Many talented players from the north are reluctant to relocate, and hence end up compromising on the quality of coaching.

In the last couple of years, junior and sub-juniors from Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh have done well on the domestic circuit, and consequently moved to Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

Dirty politics
After the 2010 New Delhi Commonwealth Games, the Badminton Association of India (BAI) president, VK Verma, was charged with corruption and imprisoned.

Some members of the new body do not seem to have learned a lesson. When players and coaches say in hushed tones that the previous body was corrupt but at least efficient, it speaks volumes about the federation which is plagued even now by internal politics.