Now this is a pleasant surprise that even the players weren't expecting. The crowd that turned out on Day 1 of the main draw of the Asian Badminton Championships was made up mainly of kids. And guess what, not only did the little ones enjoy, they were in full support of the Indian team.
Banging the Yonex plastic inflatables, screaming the names of their heroes and cheering the team with single-minded determination and not a thought of taking a break. Aastha, a 9-year-old was here with her parents. “I am having a great time,” she said.
For 11-year-old Rohit, it was all about egging on the hosts and waving the Tricolour every time an Indian won a point, “My friends and I want Anup Sridhar to win. I play badminton myself and couldn’t wait to watch my heroes play here,” he said. “Indiyeaah, Indiaaa,” a slogan that erupted every time Anup won a point against Malaysia's Chong Long in his second match. The ones giving rhythm to the slogan was a gang of kids seated in the top row.
“We have been reading about the event in newspapers. One of my friends looked up the tournament on the net and now we know how important it is.”
Indian player P. Kashyap was elated with the number of kids pouring in to watch the sport. “I did not expect such numbers, but it bodes well for the sport.”