Badminton fever grips Tirupati as players bask in ‘Sindhu glory’

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Unexpected turnout for junior national championship

A brightly lit arena, twangs from badminton rackets, young talent from across the country and a cheerful, yet noisy, audience! The ongoing ‘All-India Junior Ranking Boys and Girls Badminton Tournament-2016’, for players under 17 and 19, has proved that it has all the necessary ingredients for a fantastic sporting event.

The event, which began post ace shuttler P.V. Sindhu’s triumph at the Rio Olympics, has been drawing steady crowds to the Sri Srinivasa Sports Complex in the temple city. Every shot, be it the jump smash, hairpin drops or slices, in addition to the impeccable rallies, was met with thunderous applause from the crowd – all this being watched by a towering flex banner of P.V. Sindhu, on a side wall.

“We did not expect such a turnout for the event. The sports complex, since day one, has been jam-packed with crowds and we are happy that the support is still continuing,” remarked P. Ramakrishnaiah, treasurer of Chittoor District Badminton Association (CDBA), elated at getting a chance to host the prestigious event.

“These tournaments are held 4-5 times a year to help the players in improving their ‘All India Rankings’. This will further enable them take part in bigger campaigns, both on national and international stages,” he added.

‘Overhaul sports infrastructure’

While several parents and coaches were found cheering the players, they were equally vocal in highlighting the need for overhauling the sports infrastructure across the state, if the country were to produce sportspersons of global repute.

“The lack of sports academies and coaches in Chittoor district has prompted me to enroll my son in Pullela Gopichand Academy at Hyderabad. He has been undergoing training for the past five years and he now stands tenth in the country, in the under 17 category,” D. Jayachandra, a badminton player turned national referee told The Hindu .

The parents rued that there were no good sporting facilities for students in the district, despite being the home for seven universities in the region. They also opined that schools, many of them which have no proper playgrounds, have been detrimental towards the overall development of the children and urged the State government to focus on this issue at the earliest.

The event is being organised by the CDBA in association with the Badminton Association of India, Andhra Pradesh Badminton Association, Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh and District Sports Authority – Chittoor. More than 750 aspiring players from across 25 States and representing various sports academies are participating in the event, which concludes on August 27.

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