If Saina Nehwal can be credited for infusing some interest in badminton, PV Sindhu’s silver medal at Rio Olympics has made Indians a force to reckon with on the international circuit.
While the players have put the sport back in public attention, it will be a real task for the administrators to popularise the sport.
Taking a cue from Pullela Gopichand’s academy in Hyderabad that has produced Saina, Sindhu, P Kashyap and K Srikant, the Maharashtra Badminton Association (MBA) is eager to follow the legendary coach’s footsteps to make Maharashtra another hub for badminton in India.
“It is a huge opportunity in our hands to take badminton to another level with the recent success. There must be something special that every shuttler wants to train at the Gopichand academy. It is because of his vision that Indian badminton has reached this high. Like Hyderabad is a hub for badminton, our aim is to create something similar in Maharashtra. We too have talented players and good coaches. We are going to take every possible step to make this dream come true,” MBA president Arun Lakhani told Hindustan Times after the 75thannual general meeting of the association. Lakhani took over as MBA president last October from Pradeep Gandhe, who was at the helm from 2000.
Lakhani took the blame for the downward spiral of badminton in Maharashtra. “Maharashtra has a huge history of producing great badminton players in the past. Somehow we are to be blamed for not doing enough to lift the sport,” he said.
Boosting the infrastructure and facilities for the sport remain his top priority. “The government of Maharashtra has developed many badminton courts in the tier II and tier III cities. It has done a lot of good work at the district level as well. However, those courts lie in a dilapidated condition now. Maintaining these facilities is a huge challenge. Sometimes even paying electricity bills is a task. We have prepared a proposal to take these badminton courts on a long-term lease from the government and make the facilities available for the common public. We will develop a financial model where these facilities can be sustained on its own,” said Lakhani.
Making use of the technology, the MBA aims to save the players from filling multiple forms for different tournaments.
“The single online form can now be also used for district, state, national and international tournaments. The software will provide timely updates via emails and SMS on changes regarding the entries or reminders about important notification, the last dates, etc. to the players,” stated the press release.