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Thread: India Badminton

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    Default Making the right moves

    Making the right moves
    July 29, 2011
    AVINASH NAIR

    Full report: http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper...cle2303502.ece

    Excerpts:

    Gunther Huber is an authority amongst coaches, and there is no doubting it. The 61-year-old German is a former development and performance director of the World Badminton Federation.

    ...“In India, there is a system, but it's not structured.

    ...Now, I'm getting first-hand knowledge. I plan to give my inputs and suggest corrective measures to coaches,” he says.

    ...Huber contends that if there is something any player needs to know, the coaches should know it first. “Only then will he/she be able to impart it to the players. Coaches will have to adapt to the changing times quickly and allow it to trickle down to the wards,” he adds.

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    Default Off to London to win a title

    Off to London to win a title

    Naveen Kalia, TNN | Aug 1, 2011, 12.50PM IST
    Full report: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/c...ow/9441160.cms

    Excerpts:

    ...Pranav will play alongside international stars like Saina Nehwal, Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa. And the first thing he could say while talking to TOI was that he has been dreaming of participating in this championship for a long time. "I have been training since I was 8 and my aim has been to bring laurels to the country and to my city. I am excited about the opportunity to prove my ability," the 19-year-old said.

    ..."There is a huge need for sponsors to come forward and provide funds so that potential players can be groomed. There are many badminton tournaments that are sponsored by Badminton Association of India but there are also many others for which players have to spend a lot of money to participate."

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    Default ‘Preparations have been good'

    ‘Preparations have been good'

    The Hindu
    HYDERABAD, August 3, 2011
    V. V. Subrahmanyam

    Full report: http://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-...cle2319791.ece

    Excerpts:

    India's chief National coach P. Gopi Chand is happy with the preparations of the players for the World badminton championship, to be held in London from August 8. “The preparations have been really good and the players are in the right frame of mind.

    The mood at the training session was upbeat. “There is a very good chance of someone coming up with a special performance. I can feel the intensity of the preparations. And, more importantly, the Indians are no longer push-overs in a World championship,” said Gopi.“All I am hoping for is the desired focus and consistency from players like Saina to breach the Chinese wall in badminton,” said India's chief coach.

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    Default Petty politics hands a big loss to indian badminton

    Bhaskar Babu has been instrumental in spotting and training many top badmintonn players. Yet again, it appears Indian badminton has shot itself in the foot by playing petty politics. Read on...

    From hero to zero: The game shuttlers play
    Jul 25, 2011


    Full story: http://www.firstpost.com/blogs/from-...lay-47587.html

    Excerpts:

    ...Babu, who started his coaching career back in 1987 as a SAI employee, was brought into the national coaches panel when Gopi Chand took over as the national coach in 2006. His hard task master approach did not go down well with many players at the camp, but Gopi Chand utilised him well to execute the training plans he had for Saina and Kashyap during his absence or on tours.


    A tiff between Gopi Chand and Saina provided Babu with his first real opportunity to get out of the shadow of the chief national coach and create a niche for himself. Though Babu took over the reins of training Saina and Kashyap from February itself – after the duo wrote a letter to SAI to depute him in Hyderabad to coach them – he continued to maintain a low profile and let the limelight be on the national coach.

    ...With a whip of a second wing to his career, Babu moved his family from Vijaywada to Hyderabad and began planning for the Olympics before everything came crashing down once the news of the tiff became public and Gopi Chand and Saina decided to work out an amicable solution.

    ...The indifferent treatment from Saina at the Sudirman Cup in China proved to be the last nail in the coffin and Babu had to pack his bags from the national camp and return to the Saroor Nagar SAI centre.
    Now, the man, who was literally a shadow of Saina and Kashyap on the national and international circuit since 2006, is looking after the training of 40-odd beginners, about 40 kilometres from the Gopi Chand Academy.

    ...His name was also dropped from the panel of coaches for the recent national camp and it was clear that his application for the Dronacharya award would have no backers.

    ...He has also avoided attending any national or international tournaments being played in the country since then — preferring to stick to his self-imposed exile just like he did after parting ways with Chetan. And at 56, it is unclear whether he would have the hunger to spot the right talent and produce another player of Chetan’s calibre.

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    Default Indian badminton loses a valuable servant of the game

    Saina loses a mentor, and India an unsung hero
    Aug 10, 2011

    Full report: http://www.firstpost.com/sports/sain...ero-58085.html

    Excerpts:

    When Saina Nehwal takes the court to play her first match of the World Championships, she’ll say a silent prayer – not for victory but for a 69-year-old gentleman Mir Mahboob Ali, the man who introduced her to the game of badminton.

    Mahboob Ali, whose demise in Hyderabad last week went unnoticed by the media at large just like his coaching career, had schooled Saina in the basics of the game much before the likes of Pullela Gopichand took over and guided her to the top of world badminton.


    In fact, Mahboob Ali not only helped Saina along, but he also played a huge part in the careers of Jwala Gutta, Shurti Kurien and PV Sindhu, too. The fact that they are all among the best in the country shows that he certainly had an eye for talent. But perhaps before last week, I am not sure, all the four had ever thought about the link.

    In an era where coaches line up to tom-tom their association with players once they become celebrities, Mahboob Ali hardly ever spoke about the time when he held the hands of these star performers and taught them their first lessons in badminton.

    The list of coaches who claim to have trained Saina must be longer than her international titles. But many in the Hyderabad badminton circle were unaware that the Commonwealth Gold medalist had learnt her basics from Mahboob Ali, till her mother one day made it a point to name the veteran coach during a chat with reporters.

    “She (Saina) used to train for an hour privately under Nizam Club’s Mahboob Ali sir alongside her training at Lal Bahadur Shastri stadium,” Saina’s mother Usha Rani had said.


    Mahboob Ali’s demise also reminded me of a few coaches who selflessly devoted valuable years of their life to build the careers of their students and then eased into obscurity after their wards moved on to join the bigger academies. Sadly, most of these coaches never bothered pleasing the administrators and hence, hardly ever got their dues.

    These men may not be well-known figures, but they are in every sense architects of India’s badminton revolution. They work tirelessly without ever asking for reward. For them, nothing is more joyous than watching someone take up the sport of badminton. That is all they ask for – not for fame or money but just the simple joy of showing someone what the sport is all about… which is why we need more Mahboob Alis, Gores and Pradhans to churn out champions, and not people like Suresh Kalmadi.

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    Saina, Jwala to miss NSCI Badminton
    PTI | Aug 18, 2011, 05.46PM IST

    Full story: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/s...ow/9649550.cms

    Excerpts:

    Top national shuttlers - Saina Nehwal, Jwala Gutta, PV Sindhu, Arvind Bhat and Chetan Anand - will not take part in the NSCI All India Senior Ranking Badminton Tournament to be held from August 27-31.

    "Saina (women's world no. 5) is not taking part because of her schedule of preparations for the London Olympics, while (world championship women's doubles bronze winner) Jwala Gutta would also be absent as the tournament clashes with the Arjuna Awards ceremony in New Delhi on August 29," said Pradeep Gandhe, president of the Maharashtra Badminton Association.

    "P V Sindhu had earlier entered the event but then withdrew (to prepare for the Youth Commonwealth Games in the Isle of Man from September 7). Bhat is recovering from an injury and Anand is busy fulfilling contractual obligations for his club in Europe.

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    Default BAI sending mixed signals, playing favourites?

    Is the BAI sending out mixed signals to fans, players, and supporters? Is it playing favourites? Or is it just completely oblivious of its own duties and responsibilities, when it comes to promoting the game and its people in India?

    Read this article about how the BAI website is not fulfilling one of its basic functions: providing information that will benefit BAI and the game in the country.

    BAI website gives Jwala-Ponnappa WC bronze a miss
    August 22, 2011
    Full report: http://www.firstpost.com/blogs/bai-w...iss-66094.html

    Excerpts:

    ...doubles stars Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa, who created history last Sunday by winning a medal in the World Badminton championship after a gap of 28 years. While the two girls made news across the country, it seems the Badminton Association of India (BAI), or more precisely their official website, is completely unaware of their heroics.

    Even after a week, the official website is completely oblivious to the performance of the Indian contingent in London and is more bothered about publishing the internal circulars and other mundane stuff like appointment of technical officials and other committees.

    The attitude of those maintaining the website is no different from the overall approach of the sports administrators, who are happy holding on to their chairs rather than looking to be proactive to popularise the game.
    ...Today, there are many players who have been performing consistently at the highest level and there are at least three disciplines in which India can aim to win medals in major international tournaments.

    Such a situation should be an open invitation for any sports administrator to try and popularise the sport and what can be a better way than to build the marketing strategy around the players, whom the fans and even the corporate world can relate to.
    ...Even after the Commonwealth Games, where India won two gold medals and a team silver, the association members indulged in the capital instead of arranging an event or a sponsorship deal as a token of appreciation for the players.
    But what can one expect from an association which has still not bothered to put in place a basic mechanism of providing the media with the results of domestic and international tournaments, which is very important to keep the sport and sportsperson in public memory.

    In these circumstances, expecting the association to promote the cause of players by building an interface between fans and sportspersons seems to be a distant dream. But the very least a player can expect is a mention of his/her achievement on the website and a word of appreciation from those running the sport.

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    Article by P. Gopichand

    Badminton’s unlikely coming of age
    Aug 28, 2011

    http://www.asianage.com/life-and-sty...coming-age-008

    Excerpt:

    Badminton has changed since I used to play it. The present point format and the tournament structure are both quite good. The prize money too has seen a good rise and the fact that badminton has now become a permanent feature at the Olympics has helped small countries in taking up the sport.

    Another change has been in the playing conditions. Earlier we’d play on concrete surfaces, which were a strain on the body. Tournaments now seem to be more organised and standardised. Media coverage of the sport has increased tremendously. Players tend to be more media friendly today, revealing more of their personalities. Now, players’ lives are followed outside the sport as well, imparting them a celebrity status, which is great for the sport. But a more commercial side has appeared as well.

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    Mumbai will try to host a SS event next year

    Full story: http://www.dnaindia.com/sport/report...n-city_1580142
    Published: Saturday, Aug 27, 2011, 8:00 IST

    Excerpts:

    The Worli-based National Sports Club of India (NSCI) plans to host a Super Series badminton tournament in April next year. The club will be hosting the All-India senior ranking badminton tournament beginning on Saturday.

    ...“The ranking tournament is a big tournament but it is just the start. I believe that the NSCI courts are some of the best in the country. We want to host a Super Series tournament here in April next year and then we want to try for the 2013 World Championship as well,” said Kapila.

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    BAI picks team for China Masters

    Mumbai:
    A 13-member team, comprising seven men and six women, was selected by the Badminton Association of India to participate in the Li Ning China Masters Super Series tournament to be held in Changzhou, Jiangsu, China from September 13-18.

    The eight-member selection committee, with BAI president Dr Akhilesh Dasgupta as its chairman, also selected the teams for the subsequent Yonex Japan Open Super Series event in Tokyo from September 20-25 and the preceding Yonex Chinese Taipei Open in Taiwan from September 6-11.

    The other members of the selection panel are: Pradeep Gandhe, TPS Puri, P Gopichand, Abhin Shyam Gupta, Madhumita Bisht, Vimal Kumar and Dr Vijai Sinha, the convernor and BAI general secretary.
    The teams would have a short camp at Bangalore and Hyderabad prior to taking part in these tournaments, according to Dr Sinha.

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    Mumbai hoping to host World Badminton Championship

    Posted: Sun Sep 11 2011, 11:34 hrs
    Full report: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/mu...onship/844886/

    Excerpts:


    Maharashtra Badminton Association, with former international player Pradeep Gandhe at the helm, plans to bring the World Championships to the city soon to raise the profile of the sport here.

    As an ideal curtain-raiser for the mega-event, the association has decided to try and get the hosting rights for a Super Series event prior to it, according to Gandhe.

    “We are planning to host the World Badminton Championship, and an ideal scenario for us would be to host it either in 2013-end or May 2014,” said Gandhe, the MBA chief and the former doubles expert.

    "...We have the infrastructure, inclination, team-work, besides the co-operation of the NSCI, and the BAI..."

    “The infrastructure here has been appreciated by badminton legend Rudy Hartono, also a committee member of the BWF, who visited the stadium in June.”

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    This is a great, must-read article for anyone who wants to know how much badminton is catching on in India. And that is good news for world Badminton, because it means the second-most populous country, also the largest democracy in the world, and an upcoming economic powerhouse can give our game a much-needed boost and popularity.

    http://openthemagazine.com/article/s...ports+(Sports)

    The Game Daughters Play

    Excerpts:

    I cannot help looking up to her. I ask her how tall she is. “I am 5 feet 11 inches. For a change, that is not the first question that everyone asks me,” PV Sindhu giggles. “People usually ask me why I took to badminton instead of playing volleyball like my parents.”

    ...The Gopichand Academy trains younger kids too. Half Sindhu’s age is Gayatri, who is daddy’s girl in every sense. Daughter of Gopichand and Lakshmi, who was national badminton singles champion in 1994 and 1995, Gayatri’s much-loved first toy was a badminton racquet. That obsession has persisted, and she now spends a good four-five hours every day at her dad’s academy in Hyderabad, before and after school. “Yes, I want Gayatri to play the game because I think it is a blessing to play badminton,” says Gopi, “But it is not possible for me or anyone else to push her, it has to come from within.”

    ...an 11-year-old has been part of Dronacharya award winner SM Arif’s badminton gurukul at Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium. Arif, who has coached both Gopi and Saina Nehwal, knows Yeshaswini has the sporting DNA to make a mark. Daughter of former India hockey captain and triple Olympian Mukesh Kumar and women’s hockey player Nidhi Khullar (member of the India team that won a silver at the 1998 Asiad), Yeshaswini held a hockey stick for a good year or so before switching to the badminton racquet.

    ...For a country used to Father & Son sports packages, be it Ramanathan and Ramesh Krishnan or Milkha Singh and Jeev Milkha Singh, or even the Bhupathis and Gavaskars, it’s refreshing to have daughters trying to uphold the fame of their surnames. And the game that has stolen ahead in courting such success is badminton.

    ...Punnaiah Choudhary, a senior official at the Badminton Association of India, says Andhra Pradesh (the Indian state of which Hyderabad city is the capital) today has 17,600 active badminton players, more than any other state in the country, and even more than the cricketers in the state. This, according to him, has been achieved just by having two role models.

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    Default Lessons to be learnt -- but who will learn?


    Indian badminton’s one academy policy is dangerous
    Sep 2, 2011

    http://www.firstpost.com/blogs/india...ous-75562.html

    Excerpts:

    The Prakash Padukone Academy’s decision to close down its Pune feeder centre due to lack of talent and need for better fund management must have come as a surprise to many badminton followers. After all Pune was the only centre of the Bangalore-based academy to produce national and international level stars from the grass-root level in its 12-year existence.

    ...But the last few years have been difficult for the centre with no new stars on the horizon, forcing the academy administration to shut shop and look northward for talent. Though, the decision could be termed drastic, it has many lessons to be learnt for the badminton administrators in the country.

    ...While it is understandably difficult to create a foolproof succession plan in a team sport as they cannot afford to compromise on the results, the process can be relatively simple and all the administrators need to do is broad base their talent hunt program.

    Badminton powerhouse China is a prime example of how a country can maintain a steady flow of world-class talent by building a network of zonal and regional coaching centres as a supply line to the national centre. Thousands of aspiring stars train at these zonal centres with just about five per cent of them making it to the national camp.

    In contrast, badminton activity in India tends to concentrate only in one or two centres depending on where the power lies. Till 2004, Bangalore was the go to place. But since Pullela Gopi Chand took over as the national coach, Hyderabad has become the epicentre with all the top stars training at the Gopichand Badminton Academy.


    Today, there are about 40 full time trainees at the Academy and Gopi Chand was forced to deny admission to many other candidates since it is difficult to provide the same level of training to a bigger pool of players with the available resources at hand.

    Almost all these 40 players are from the same age group and since they would be around for another few years, there is little chance that Gopi Chand and his team would have much time to groom new talent.

    If India has to sustain the progress it has shown in the last few years, the Badminton Association of India needs to step out of their comfort zone and create a system of grooming talent across the country.

    While zonal academies are the right way forward, the association cites lack of funds to kick-start the initiative. However, an alternative plan of action could be to promote setting up private academies in different part of the countries and given them the status of zonal centres.

    This way, BAI and the national coach can monitor the training at these academies and at the same time create a bigger pool of coaches capable of giving proper training to budding shuttlers.

    All it needs is a will to decentralise power and a vision for the future.

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    Good day at the office for Indian players!

    A pretty large Indian contingent were present at the Dutch Open, and they started off in style. Almost every one of them went through to the second round. Anup Sridhar retired with the score just 1-0 against his round 1 opponent, Anthony Dumartheray of Switzerland. And Nandagopal K went down in straight games to 7th seed Hsuan Yi Hsueh of Taiwan.

    In the Mens singles, top seed (Boonsak has withdrawn from the tournament) Ajay Jayaram, Prannoy H S, Anand Pawar, Sai Praneeth, Arvind Bhat and Chetan Anand all went through to the second round.

    In the Womens singles, both Indian players Arundhati Pantawane and Sindhu went through without much fuss, taking out much higher ranked players.

    In the Mens doubles, Tarun Kona/Arun Vishnu and Pranav Chopra/Akshay Dewalkar are still alive, having received a bye in round 1.

    In the Womens doubles, Pradnya Gadre/Prajakta Sawant got a bye in round 1, and have received a w/o from their round 2 opponents; so they advance to round 3 later in the day on Thursday without a shot fired!

    In the mixed doubles, both teams of Akshay/Pradnya and Pranav/Prajakta won their first rounds, and have booked themselves into round 2 tomorrow.

    Great job! I'm pretty sure there will be a strong representation in the quarter-finals as well!

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    OT: Indian mainstream Sports Journalists

    I don't know if I should be amused or irritated.

    Every time I come upon an article or report in the mainstream Indian newspapers online dealing with the performances of the Indian badminton players, it seems that the players are either "storming into" or "crashing out of"

    And the "storm & crash" bug is infectious. They all use the identical lines. Everytime.

    Saina (or Sindhu/Ajay/Kashyap/Jwala/etc) "storms" into round 2, or the Semi-finals, or the finals. There is no discrimination. The "storming" begins right after a win in round 1 itself, and goes on until the player "crashes."

    Must be very painful for the Indian players...

    Sometimes, there is some more background offered. Such as, "Saina on course for revenge" with WSX or WX or JS etc.

    Indian journalists covering badminton: get a life, please.

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    For anyone doubting the truth of my previous post re. Indian sports journalists, and the "storm-and-crash syndrome," check out these latest headlines....

    Sindhu storms into Dutch Open semifinals | Indian Sports News

    Jayaram crashes out of Dutch Open - The Times of India

  17. #85
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    Default Hungry and Foolish

    How champions Padukone and Gopi stayed hungry and foolish
    Aparna Popat
    Oct 12, 2011

    http://www.firstpost.com/blogs/how-c...sh-105604.html

    The final issue of the Whole Earth Catalog publication in the 1970’s carried a photograph of the early morning country road with the words ‘Stay Hungry Stay Foolish’ printed below.

    Steve Jobs stated this in his memorable commencement speech at Stanford in 2005 where he admitted that he always wished that for himself.

    Looking back at the trials and tribulations, successes and experiments of Steve Jobs’ existence, one can say that he really brought the phrase ‘Stay Hungry Stay Foolish’ to life. Yes and made it fashionable.

    Today, almost everyone wants to adopt this motto. They see it as the attitude to have to become successful a-la Steve Jobs. But not everyone can be Steve Jobs. Just like not everyone can be a Nandu Natekar or a Prakash Padukone or a P Gopi Chand. That requires a special kind of hunger.

    These were special champions who at times appeared foolish but only because they were hungry.

    Nandu Natekar was the king of Indian badminton in the 1950s. He was touted as the craftiest player that India ever produced and renowned world over. Inspite of having a near perfect game, he would practice for hours insisting that the shuttle landed exactly in the corner of the court or on the line. But this was not sans hardships and some seemingly irrational decisions.


    He shifted from the small Maharashtrian town of Sangli to bustling Mumbai to pursue badminton – at the time when sport was still known to be recreation and not taken seriously. At the age of 18, he stayed in a modest accommodation around the Crawford Market area and made full use of the opportunities that Mumbai provided.

    Natekar was a natural talent like no other and went on to win over 100 national and international titles for India in a career spanning 15 years.


    Padma Shri Prakash Padukone, World Cup and All-England Winner, had no formal badminton training back in India. For most part, he was on his own, devising his own training schedules. Often, he would train so much that he vomited immediately after the training session. This was obviously neither a wise nor scientific method of training.


    In his hometown Bangalore, he practiced in a badminton hall that doubled up as a marriage venue with ceiling girders low enough to obstruct any player trying the conventional high singles service or lift shots from the net. Yet, he was hungry enough to experiment and foolish enough to persist playing at those courts. After hours and hours of relentless practice, he mastered the art of hitting the shuttle accurately through those girders. It was this very control of the shuttle that helped him win the All-England title in 1980 at the Wembley stadium, UK, where the drift in the hall caused the other players to lose control on the shuttle.


    I was fortunate to have played alongside Gopi during his heydays so I can claim to know Gopi and his quirks a little better. Gopi was the ultra-dedicated, determined and passionate sort. Through his career I have seen him experiment with so many training routines and techniques with the sole aim to succeed at the sport. He had an uncanny sense of self-belief and belief in his training methods. If he felt that the training schedule would benefit him in any way he would give it his 200 percent. Certain days his coaches had to beg him to stop training.


    Apart from training, there was this time I remember, he heard that spinach was good for your health. He ate spinach untiringly for two months until someone convinced him that he was overdoing it. Another time, he took up yoga in order to help him mentally focus during his matches. Come rain or shine, a tough training session the previous day or a tedious journey, Gopi pursued his yoga every single morning without fail.


    In fact he became such a pro at it that even the monk at the prayer room at the Sydney Olympics athletes’ village heeded his power of concentration. One must not forget that during this journey of badminton, Gopi went through three career-threatening knee surgeries and bounced back to end his career with the prestigious All-England title in 2001. Very few, if any, could be foolish enough to defy such odds. Thus, I can proudly say without any hesitation, that here was a true champion that walked through fire to become an icon of Indian sport.


    Many a champions have subscribed to this motto. However, some others who lived by this motto might not have tasted that kind of success but all was not wasted.


    My guru and father figure, Anil Pradhan, former national champion, reminded me of that just the other day. When he played competitive badminton in the 1960’s he lived in Dombivali, a suburb of Mumbai. He played matches at 9 am which meant he had to leave home by 6 am to travel a grueling hour and a half by local train to south Mumbai where matches were often played. The return would be after his matches in the evening. In case matches went on late, tired and spent, he would run to the station to catch the local that would ply at 50 min intervals at that time of night.


    In fact, a couple of times he even missed the last local home and had to sleep on a handcart at the station. He played his heart out and without any financial support or encouragement. It was just a mad passion for the game. He said, “The hurdles were aplenty but we didn’t give up. We did it for the love of the game. Had we stopped playing then, players like you would not have had a chance to play at the level that you did.”


    If you give it a serious thought, the generations before us set the stepping stones for our success – all because they were hungry and foolish.


    Therefore, as Steve Jobs wished for the Stanford graduates to be ‘hungry and foolish’, I too sincerely hope that the youngsters in the badminton fraternity have the heart to stand by this motto – for themselves as individuals and to breathe life into the sport and keep the ball rolling or should I say, shuttle flying.


    Maybe, they will all be able to say: i-hungry; i-foolish; i-happy.

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