Sit down and sort out the problems

The Hindu
19 May 2007

Bangalore:

Prakash Padukone believes that the simmering discontent in India's badminton circles can be sorted out. Padukone, who had maintained a studied silence over the issue, finally spoke his mind on Friday.

"I don't see it as being such a major problem and I am sure a solution will be found. When there is a problem people should address it rather than sit on their prestige. I am sure if the Badminton Association of India (BAI) and the players sit down and discuss the issue, it will be sorted out. Unfortunately right now, both parties are talking to each other through the press. There is a communication error," Padukone told reporters on the sidelines of a press conference organised by the Karnataka Badminton Association here on Friday.

Axing of top players


Padukone was referring to the controversy that trailed the two-month long National camp in progress at Hyderabad and the non-attendance of which led to the axing of some top-notch players from the National team, including Chetan Anand, Jwala Gutta and Shruti Kurien, who have been vocal about their protests.

The players stressed that attending the camp would prevent them from participating in the Super Series events in Singapore and Indonesia, which would help them garner crucial points in an Olympics-qualification year besides gaining a slice of the prize money. The trio missed the events, with BAI refusing to allow them to play even at their own cost.

The badminton legend said: "Let us not get into who was right and who was wrong. Forget Singapore and Indonesia, its over. Let them talk and arrive at a solution. I have my own ideas on this issue. Point number one is that let the BAI revert to the original team that they had informally finalised in March. I mean the team that also included Anup Sridhar, Chetan Anand, Diju, Jwala Gutta and Shruti.

There is still time for the Sudirman Cup (June 10 to 17). Let there be a two-week camp and if these players don't turn up, then drop them. By this we at least have the option of fielding the country's best team."

"Point number two is that let the BAI give an assurance that it won't stop players from going on their own to compete in Open tournaments. In fact the money that is being saved by this could be spent on some promising young player. I mean if a player is willing to foot his/her own bill for his tours abroad, why stop him/her?"

Shorter-duration camps


"Another important point is to have shorter-duration camps. Say a two-week or a three-week camp and let the time-frame be decided early so that it doesn't clash with key tournaments," Padukone said.

"The best thing is to have a longer six-week endurance camp before the season begins so that the players can build on that through the year. And finally once you announce a camp for a tournament where India's official team is set to participate, ensure that the players attend the camp or else drop them but don't curtail their participation in Open tournaments."

"At the end of the day, the association wants the players to do well and the players too want to do well, so I don't see a big problem. It just needs to be sorted out. You have to strike a balance, you cannot have camps all the time and you cannot play tournaments all the time," Padukone added.