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Foreign badminton players visit Puneri landmarks, off court

International players undertake a tour of the city to understand and embrace the local culture.

pune Updated: Apr 24, 2018 18:00 IST
Manzoor Ahmad Teli
Manzoor Ahmad Teli
Hindustan Times, Pune
Badminton players from various nations visited the Dagdusheth Ganpati temple in Pune on April 23.(RAHUL RAUT/HT PHOTO)

The international under-19 World School Badminton Championship, currently underway at Balewadi stadium, is playing host to a plethora of international players who have come a long way from home to compete on the Indian soil. Taking time off their busy training schedule, on Monday, a group of international players decided to undertake a tour of Pune to understand and embrace the local culture while they are in the city.

Most of the teams visited a few places in the city, including the Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati temple. The foreign players wanted to visit the temple so important to Maharashtrians.

“Hundreds of players from countries across the globe participated in the event organised by the International school sport federation, the School game federation of India and the Sports and youth services of Maharashtra,” said Narendra Sopal, joint secretary, Sports and youth services, Maharashtra.

“Pune is a wonderful experience. We did not get much time to explore the city outside the stadium and hotel, but the venue was very good and really big. Though there were small issues pertaining to delay in event timings and food, it was manageable,” said Debbie Liu, coordinator of the Chinese Taipei school sports federation.

Players from France also displayed a convincing performance at the event. Marion-Le-Ture, a French player, said, “It was surprising to see that Indians mostly prefer spicy food and we had no option other than to order pizza to suit our preferences.”

She added that she has been to many countries representing France and that it was an amazing experience to visit and explore the local markets of Pune.

Badminton players from China pose for a photo in front of Shaniwarwada in Pune on April 23. ( RAHUL RAUT/HT PHOTO )

“We had enjoyed the temple and enjoyed our small trip. We went to locals shops in the market yard around the temple. We did not purchase anything, but we had a good look at various grocery items hanging outside shops. It was a unique experience,” she added.

Head of the England delegation, Ashley Robson, said, “The event is all about friendship and carrying forward the legacy of badminton through our youth.”

“The event started on April 19 and will conclude on April 24. The government has provided all amenities to the players and had organised various cultural activities to entertain them,” added Narendra.

Talking about the issue of fluctuating dinner timings, Narendra said, “Mr and Mrs Kamble, who are looking after the dinner and lunch timings of players, and their staff will be informed about the issue shortly. They will be strictly advised to follow the timings given and be active and ready as per the need of any individual player.”

Badminton of champions, the Taipei way

Of the seven teams in the selected boys’ category at the international under-19 World School Badminton Championship, Chinese Taipei remained supreme and won the gold medal, remaining unbeaten throughout the tournament. The Indian team finished second.

Speaking on the tournament and her country’s outstanding performance, Debbie Liu, coordinator of the Chinese Taipei school sports federation, explained that this was the result of experience and hard work put in by their players. She also credited their wins to the different strategies used by their coaches.

“Taipei and other teams keep the corner line judge vertically while other teams, especially India, keep the line judge parallel,” added Debbie. A line judge is responsible for indicating whether a shuttle landed “in” or “out”, if the shuttle land near the lines he/she is assigned to monitor. Depending on the level of the tournament, there may be as many as 10 line judges assigned to a court for a particular match. The adjustment of players in the court is very important and we always keep it in a vertical position that helps the line judge, Debbie said.

She explained how a specific alignment of players, facing each other at corners, helps Taipei gain more points and have a clear line judgement.

According to Debbie, top international teams apart from Taipei were France, Turkey and India. “They are facilitated a good competitive game, but Taipei was always ahead of them by a large margin,” she added.

Debbie said that this was her maiden trip to India for sports and that she is happy that their team, Taipei, is doing a good job in the field.

First Published: Apr 24, 2018 17:56 IST