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Shuttlers quitting game, KBA ‘concerned’

India is celebrating Saina Nehwal’s success in securing the top rank in World Badminton but Karnataka Badminton Association is worried about the sport’s future as many players are leaving the sport

By K.S. Aditya Rao

BANGALORE (April 2)— The number of badminton players in the junior group has almost doubled in the last three years in Karnataka, whereas the figures for the same in the senior group has reduced, according to the Karnataka Badminton Association. 

Pramila Prakash, a member of the KBA, said that many girls are coming forward to take up the sport in junior level but as they reach senior level of the game, they usually give up playing because of academic pressure.

Balachandran, a senior coach at KBA, said that players like Saina Nehwal and K. Shrikanth are great inspirations for the young talents, but due to pressure from their parents to give more preference to academics, the players end up with no choice and are forced to discontinue the sport.   

Statistics of women Badminton players in Karnataka based on records of the Karnataka Badminton Association

He also said that due to the outstanding performances of Indian women shuttlers in national and international levels, more girls are being motivated to take up the sport.

However, he added that many girls leave the sport, citing “school and college studies” as reasons.

“Mostly they (girls) leave playing at the age of 16, as it is peak time for them in their academic journeys, including their secondary board examinations,” he said.

Sindhu Bharadwaj, an under-17 state player left the sport to pursue her career in chartered accountancy.
She was a senior player under the KBA and was also selected for the India Camp.

Similarly, another under-17 state player, Monisha Nayak, who was one of the top five players in Karnataka, gave up the sport due to academic reasons.

“My parents wanted me to concentrate more on my studies and it was impossible for me to manage both playing and studies simultaneously. Hence, I took that decision,” she said.

Balachandran also pointed out that the infrastructure at KBA has also played an important role in training the girls. 

According to him, unlike associations of other states, KBA has encouraged the smaller badminton clubs which has helped the state in picking up more talented players.

He said that if full time badminton training is introduced in Karnataka, like it has already been introduced in Andhra Pradesh; players can do “wonders in the tournaments.”

 

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