Tournaments for lawyers, doctors and IT professionals will help badminton grow says, Ranjeet Natu
Ranjeet Natu, secretary, Pune District Metropolitan Badminton Association, speaking to Pranav Shahaney shares the impact of badminton on the fledglings of the city. According to him, since Pune is the birthplace of badminton, the level of talent only seems to be on the rise here.
A number of badminton tournaments take place in a year. Where do you think the popularity of badminton is in comparison to other premier sports?
Badminton has always been great in Pune. We’ve had good players, organisers and events for the past 35 years. Pune must be having no less than 500 courts as most of the housing societies today also have a small badminton court.
What needs to be done to make Pune the number 1 place for badminton in the country?
To make it a more popular game, we are planning to have badminton events in schools. A couple of years ago, we had introduced a workshop for the physical training teachers as well to train them so that they could encourage their students to take up badminton. We’re also looking to host a number of sectorial tournaments for IT employees, doctors, lawyers and automobile company employees.
Does the association have tie-ups with academies in other cities and how important is it to have academies in Pune to help the sport flourish?
We had a tie-up with the Prakash Padukone Academy a while back. However, there were some financial hurdles for the Bengaluru academy so they curtailed the Pune sector. We have 600 kids in 3-4 centres in Pune.
A number of badminton events are now broadcast on TV. Do you think that’s encouraging more players to take up the sport?
Because of the performances of Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu and Srikanth Kidambi, people are developing an affinity towards the sport. Even the Pro Badminton League (PBL) is generating a lot of interest.
Is there a similar league compared to the PBL at the local level for up and coming players?
Poona District Metropolitan Badminton Association Team League Championship is a league which takes place in the second week of May and goes on until the end of the month. It is a preparatory tournament for players for the coming season, that starts at the end of June. Before this, you have rigorous camps in March and April.