WHAT IS common among national-level junior shuttlers Pawan Kumar, Jai Singh and Dharamveer? All three are sons of Class IV employees of the KD Singh ‘Babu’ Stadium. They developed fascination for the sport by occasionally accompanying their fathers to the badminton hall.
Pawan, Dharamveer and Jai are among 16 shuttlers being trained under the day-boarding scheme of the Sports Authority of India.
Dharmveer’s father late Sarju, a chowkidar, used to take his son along with him to the badminton hall. While watching the shuttlers in action there, Dharmveer simply fell in love with the sport. Soon the racquet became his inseparable companion.
Today, the 15-year-old lanky boy has proved his worth both at the district and State level. After winning the singles title in the junior boys’ category in the Jugal Kishore Trophy State Tournament here a fortnight ago, the shuttler bagged both the singles and doubles titles in a State tournament in Azamgarh just a few days back.
“He (Dharamveer) is going great guns. He will soon be able to prove his worth at the nationals in the coming season,” says SAI coach Sudhir Singh adding, the shuttler is hard-working and has a flexible body.
Two of his trainees i.e. Parsha Naqvi (UP’s No 1 in the women’s category) and Prabhat Kumar Yadav have been chosen for the Elite Group of the training scheme of the Badminton Association of India.
The story of Jai Singh is similar to Dharamveer and Pawan. Being the son of another peon Rameshwar, the boy got additcted to this game since his early days. In 2005, he went for the Chandigarh Nationals and despite having a good show in the under-13 category, he couldn’t make it to the top four. But he showed his class in the State Championship, and finished runners-up in doubles.
Young Pawan Kumar, son of peon Chotey Lal, finished runners-up in the sub-junior singles category in the State Championship and bagged the doubles title.
“I used to dream of becoming a badminton player. There was no financial support for me in the beginning. But after being selected for the SAI scheme in 2001, I felt that I could realize my dream of becoming a top shuttler,” says Pawan.
Pawan and 15 other shuttlers under the scheme (which runs for 10 months a year) get Rs 600 per month as training allowance, kits worth Rs 4000 a year and Rs 2000 as TA/DA for trips to the State and national level tournaments, including Inter-SAI events in the country.
Praising the performance of the players under the SAI scheme, Sudhir says the younger generation of badminton players are capable of doing UP proud at the national and international level.