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Shuttlers set for games people play

AP shuttlers are least bothered about security problems in Assam as they prepare to compete at the National Games in Guwahati which start from February 9, writes Saji Chacko.

india Updated: Feb 02, 2007 23:38 IST

The Andhra Pradesh shuttlers do not seem to be bothered about the security problems that have been plaguing Assam as they prepare to compete at the National Games in Guwahati which start from February 9.

“As sportsmen, once we are selected in the team, we are supposed to play anywhere. I am not afraid to go to Guwahati,” said JVS Vidhyadhar, who will be part of the team.

But he is honest enough to admit that bomb threats are a little unnerving.
“Honestly speaking, every time there is a blast, I get concerned about the situation.” But youngster P Kayshap has a different take altogether.

“Why are they sending us when they know there is a serious security threat?” he asked.

Will there be fear on his mind when he goes there? “No, not at all. I'll be playing without any fear. If your mind is preoccupied, you cannot give it your best on the court,” he said.

The money on offer could be another reason for the shuttlers to make the trip. The AP government had announced a cash prize of Rs 3 lakh for the gold medal winners, two lakh for silver and one lakh for bronze winners in the previous edition of the Games held in Hyderabad.

But Vidyadhar played down the money factor. “No, I do not think it has anything to do with money. It is all about pride.”

“As a sportsman, I want to win and that is all that counts,” he said.

The Kerala shuttlers also said they had no problems with playing in Guwahati. As star doubles player Rupesh Kumar put it:  “The National Games is the premier domestic event in the country.

“It would be a shame if we were to withdraw from it citing security reasons. Come what may, we are going.”

In stark contrast to the AP and Kerala shuttlers, the Delhi players seemed apprehensive about playing in Guwahati.

A senior member of the Delhi badminton team who did not want to be named said, “ Honestly, I do not know the exact situation but I am not comfortable playing there.

“But as we are going there as a team, I do not think I have any choice," added the Delhi player.