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Better coaching,big events acting as a booster: Gopichand

Former All England champion Pullela Gopichand is quite satisfied with the badminton scenario in the country. Gopichand who was in the state capital on Thursday for the mascot unveiling ceremony of the Syed Modi Badminton Tournament...

Written by Wajiha Shah | Lucknow |
December 4, 2009 4:39:11 am

Former All England champion Pullela Gopichand is quite satisfied with the badminton scenario in the country. Gopichand who was in the state capital on Thursday for the mascot unveiling ceremony of the Syed Modi Badminton Tournament made a candid admission,“I won’t say that badminton is as popular as cricket but we are above many other sports due to the performance of Indians in big tournaments,I think badminton is somewhere in the middle and I am content with that.”

The chief national coach of India was full of praise for India’s star shuttler Saina Nehwal and said players become stars due to their performance in big tournaments. “For example,Saina Nehwal is a talented shuttler. She had been performing well for quite some time but shot to stardom only when she performed well at the Olympics.”

The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awardee said,that in the recent past things have improved drastically in badminton because of a two-fold approach— better coaching and organising of international events in India. “A lot of support is coming from the Commonwealth Games Committee. Several coaching camps were organised and teams were sent abroad for playing. Besides,big international events are being organised in our country. This year,we had the India Open,the World Championships and now the prestigious Syed Modi International Grand Prix Badminton Tournament is being organised. In the year 2010 also important events like Asian championships,the Commonwealth Games besides the Syed Modi International Grand Prix will be organised,” Gopichand explained.

Gopichand said skill-wise Indians do not lag behind Malaysians or Indonesians. ” We are in fact better in terms of skill…but they have better infrastructure. In India there is dearth of infrastructure,equipment and coaching at grassroot level which makes all the difference.”

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Talking about the Syed Modi Badminton,he said,“For years,Syed Modi Badminton has been the most important tournament in India. The players stand an opportunity to gain points from this tournament as it is a Grand Prix event now. The exposure that the Indians will be getting here,will definitely bring improvement in their game. Our top players will also get good competition from the foreign players and it will motivate them for the Commonwealth Games. There is a lot to gain for players like Saina Nehwal,Chetan Anand and many others.”

The badminton great who is running a badminton academy now to give back the sport what it has given him said,“ I am happy with the way my career went. As a player I used to concentrate on my training,my fitness schedule etc. now I do the same for about 200 young shuttlers.”

Top Indian shuttlers for Modi Badminton
Top Indian shuttlers including Olympian Saina Nehwal will be seen in action during the Syed Modi International Grand Prix Badminton Tournament scheduled to be held from December 15 to 20,2009 at the UP Badminton Academy,Lucknow. The prestigious event which is being organised jointly by the UP Badminton Association (UPBA) and the UP government carries US$ 50000 as prize money.

Briefing mediapersons honorary secretary UPBA Dr Vijai Sinha informed,“Former world champion and Olympic gold medallist Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia will also be participating in the six day Championship as a ‘guest player’. Taufik Hidayat will play show matches on December 19 and 20.”

“In all 100 shuttlers from India and 35 foreign players,including two from Germany,eight from Indonesia,four from Ireland,three from Japan,two from Malaysia,two from the Netherlands,ten from Nepal,one from Slovakia,two from Sri Lanka and one from Switzerland have confirmed their participation in the tournament,” chairman of the tournament committee Dr Akhilesh Das Gupta.

Besides them,20 players from Uttar Pradesh including Olympian Abhinn Shyam Gupta,Ravinder Singh and Sub Junior India star Sara Naqvi will be playing in the prestigious championship,which features events like Men’s Singles/ Doubles,Women’s Singles/ Doubles and Mixed Doubles. The inaugural ceremony of the function will be organised on December 16 while the qualifying round matches will be held on December 15. The semi-finals and finals will be played on December 19 and 20,respectively.

The UPBA will also felicitate Saina Nehwal,Pullela Gopichand,Anup Sridhar,Jwala Gutta,Chetan Anand and V Diju for their contributions in the game in recent years. Uttar Pradesh Badminton Association had revived the Syed Modi Badminton Tournament in 1999,and since then it became a regular feature. The tournament was last organised in 2004 and at that time it was an invitational tournament.

Minto,the elephant
During the unveiling ceremony of the mascot for the Syed Modi International Grand Prix Badminton Tournament,many were taken by surprise when the mascot ‘Minto’ turned out to be an elephant,sporting a blue cap. While elephant is the symbol of the Bahujan Samaj Party,the colour of the party’s flag is blue. Even the curtains used to cover the mascot before the ceremony were blue. Dr Akhilesh Das Gupta,chairman of the tournament committee,is BSP general secretary. When a scribe asked him why the elephant,he replied,“Just like that. Generally an animal is the mascot of an international event.” Asked about the symbolic importance of the elephant,Akhilesh Das said,“The elephant symbolises stamina and strength. It shows the power of shuttlers to make the badminton world strong.”

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