As one enters the Siri Fort badminton hall the board announcing that the 2010 Commonwealth Games badminton event will be held here welcomes you. The venue is also in the running to host the World championship next year but the conditions of the courts hardly instil any confidence, even in country’s top shuttlers.
On Monday, women's national champion Saina Nehwal pulled out of the individual championship of the ongoing Inter Petroleum badminton meet citing the bad conditions of the court. "On the very first day I had informed the organisers that the condition of the court is not good and it is not safe to play," said Nehwal, who did help her employer Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited win the team championship but was definitely not playing at her best.
"Yes, I was very careful as I was slipping while running across the court," she told HT after beating Indian Oil's B R Meenakshi.
Her team-mate Sagar Chopda suffered a serious knee injury on Sunday when he slipped going for an overhead smash and will be out of action for over a week. In fact, all the team managers had complained about the courts during the manager's meeting.
Though none of the players took such a drastic step they admitted to this reporter that the courts were not really conducive for quality badminton. National coach Pullela Gopichand also accepted that the courts were not in good condition and supported Nehwal's decision. "I think she has a valid reason since the Indian Open is just a few weeks away," he said.
When pointed out that the venue was also shortlisted for the Commonwealth Games, Gopichand preferred not to comment on the issue.
ONGC, BPCL win
Meanwhile, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and BPCL won the men's and women's team championship.
ONGC got the better of Indian Oil 3-2 in the men's final while the BPCL women beat the same opponent 2-0.
Men: ONGC bt IOC 3-2 (Thomas Kurian lost to Ajay Jayaram 16-21, 14-21; Chetan anand bt P Kashyap 22-20, 21-14; Siddharth Jain lost to JBS Vidyadhar 10-21, 19-21
Women: BPCL bt IOC 2-0 (Saina Nehwal bt B R Meenakshi 21-15, 21-10; Shruti Kurien/Jwala Gutta bt B R Meenakshi/Aparna Balan 21-12, 21-10.