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Now, shuttlecocks catch bird flu

India’s preparatory camp for badminton have been cancelled as the Union Agriculture Ministry has banned the import of feathers, reports Abhijeet Kulkarni.
By Abhijeet Kulkarni | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON FEB 07, 2008 03:10 AM IST

In what can only be called bizarre, India’s preparatory camp for badminton’s Thomas and Uber Cup qualifiers, due to begin in Goa on Wednesday, was cancelled because of a lack of shuttlecocks and procedural delays. The shuttlecocks aren’t available because the Union Agriculture Ministry has banned the import of feathers due to bird flu.

Vikram Dhar, country manager of Yonex Sunrise India (which makes the shuttlecocks), said they were helpless, as the ministry had banned the entry of bird feathers from China.

Pradeep Kumar, secretary, Animal Husbandry, told HT that a sanitary import permit was needed for imports. “There’s no question of issuing it for an affected country like China and it’s up to Customs to decide whether shuttlecocks are animal products or not,” he said.

“We haven’t been able to import shuttles for four months,” said Dhar. “We are even willing to give an undertaking that the feathers are not affected by the virus but to no effect.”

Shuttles are made of goose feathers and China and Chinese Taipei have the best quality. With all international tournaments played with these shuttles only, the Badminton Association of India had no choice but to call off the camp.

Inputs from Jatin Gandhi

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