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Sat, 29 Feb 2020

Northeast Today

The perishing game of Badminton in Assam

The perishing game of Badminton in Assam
January 20
12:50 2020

Prarthana Hazarika


A long cherished dream of a Badminton academy in Assam was fulfilled when the then Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi inaugurated the Assam Badminton Academy on the 30th of October 2010. With a budget of more than 1 crore rupees, Assam Badminton Association took the initiative of setting up the academy at the Kanaklata Indoor Stadium. Indian National team coach and former All England Champion, Pullela Gopichand was invited as the chief guest for the occasion. The ABA (Assam

Sports pic

Badminton Academy) was clear with its goals and objective of selecting talented shuttlers both boys and girls and train them under foreign coaches as well as senior National coaches. Gopichand was hopeful and exuberated confidence in the academy. Eventually, intense training began under the guidance of Indonesian coach Faizal Rahman. Moreover, twenty four promising boys and girls in the under -13, under-16, and under-19 categories were selected and accommodated in the academy’s hostel. With the ambition of becoming Prakash Padukone, Pullela Gopichand, Saina Nehwal or P V Sindhu, the shuttlers started chasing their dreams.

But things started taking a different turn in the academy, just after three years have passed. The shuttlers who started with great zeal and enthusiasm wore a different look and an attitude. The passion for making it big in the national and international scenario now no longer exists with them. This raises the question- what exactly changed in just three years?

On the condition of anonymity, a senior shuttler came up with a shocking revelation that the academy is run without a proper scientific approach. Moreover, the standard of training in the sport has also changed considerably over time. It is not just about a regular job to train youngsters and enjoy the status and money/remuneration. No proper planning, discipline, dedication is seen in the academy, as a result, the shuttlers are devastated by the lackadaisical attitude of the Babus. The question here is who is accountable for all these changes?

A few days ago a senior shuttler and an official of ABA came up with such types of questions in a social networking site when a shuttler from Assam lost to the Arunachal team in the North East Zone Badminton tournament.  Nevertheless, these reactions do not count after so many years have passed and the authorities did not have time to take heed of the existing anomalies in the sports as well as the academy.

Another senior shuttler opined that the academy is nothing but eyewash by the association. The ABA officials are busy with their own regular business and they are using the game as a money making machine.

It’s high time to ponder upon who will train these shuttlers into professionals thereby preparing them to compete at both national and international levels. Hosting National Tournaments are not enough; one has to understand that if Assam shuttlers are to make a mark in the national scenario then the academy has to be run in a professional manner.

Assam shuttler Ashmita Chaliha has made up to nationals and international circuit but only one Asmita cannot save the crisis of Assam Badminton.

The future of the budding shuttlers is at stake. Secretary Omar Rashid and his bunch of officials are enjoying the moolahs and very much satisfied by organising different tournaments from time to time. The academy is nothing but a showpiece that the big bosses proudly flaunt as their personal property.

The present scenario of the sports in the state gives us a benefit of doubt. Will only the infrastructure help in making a national or an international level champion? Time to think!


The writer is a renowned sports journalist and can be reached at [email protected]    


Pics Credit for featured image: Angela Steven                                              


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