Boost for badminton The Nation on Sunday By Samiddha Kalmith Rathnayake Sri Lanka is a country where badminton has become more a household sport than a professional sport. With the advent of the new president of the Sri Lanka Badminton Association (SLBA), Amanda Weerasinghe, it seems that the game has taken a new dimension. For the first time in local badminton history the game will be benefited by the services of a foreign coach and The Nation senses a big change in the field in the near future. Weerasinghe became the treasurer of the association in 1996 and since then he has held various positions including that of vice- president a few years back. Probably he is also the youngest SLBA president the association ever had. Still being a player, Weerasinghe has a different mentality unlike the former presidents at SLBA. “I feel that there should be a major change in the set-up. The Association bears many unwanted costs monthly. If we are going to see a major development in the game we have to stop these and I’m taking the necessary steps to do so,” he said. Weerasinghe has a two-dimension planning to develop the game. “I want to see the national level players gain the best possible international rating in the future and that’s the main reason why I want to bring down a foreign coach. The players also should get the match practices and that is something essential for their success. So I’m hoping to give the top players enough international exposure,” he said. The school level is the nursery for any sort of sport and the future of the game depends on these players. Weerasinghe also sees the need to reactivate the district level and the junior level of the game. “For quite some time the association had been a bit sluggish in maintaining the junior level of the game. But I think that we should cater to that level for better results in the future. So I will be focusing on pumping life into that area.” The discipline of the players will be another major concern of the new president. During the recent past there were occasions that the country heard of a few occasions where the players crossed the line and Weerasinghe says that punishment will be meted out for any sort of breach of laws irrespective of the status of the player. “Not only disciplinary matters but when it comes to practice sessions, the association will be keeping a close eye on regular attendance and punctuality. These rules will ultimately help us to gain the results that we all like to see in the future,” he said with confidence. However it is finally up to the sports loving public to decide whether Weerasinghe has done any sort of good for badminton or not at the end of his period in office.