KOCHI: As an expatriate Badminton player, Dubai-based Alex Tharakan has always wished to contribute something back to his own country. When such a thought came to his mind, he has no doubt about choosing Kerala, state that has a goldmine of talent.
He established NVBA PASE, Badminton Academy in Tripunithura, on January 8 this year.
“Developing students from the remotest areas of the state into an international standard is our primary aim. Along with that, we will be developing a strong grassroot-level platform for badminton in Kerala,” says Alex, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) certified international coach.
The first international academy was formed out of the partnership between NVBA, Malaysia and PASE, Dubai with the influx of renowned coaches such as Yogendran Krishnan and Yeoh Kay Bin.
He felt the lack of professionalism in every sphere of coaching academies. “Apart from the unavailability of good facilities, the stakeholders showed a lack of adaptation to the new trends in the sport. They were still following the old methods where one trainer will look after more than 30-40 students,” he says.
“We assigned 10 students under one coach. He will focus on those students in an exclusive court. Then bring in various coaching methods followed by BWF that are completely alien to Indian academies,” he says.
Instead of going for senior players, they believed in the motto of ‘catch them young’ by investing heavily in age group teams. “We realised the untapped potential in this belt and give it some time to emerge through high-performance training,” asserts Alex.
Attesting the vision, many of them have made notable strides in the state and national level championships. “U-19 state runner-up Jacob Thomas and other players from various age categories namely Arjun Biju, Rojin Jacob, Rijin Roshith, Navaneeth and Jerry M John made their mark in sundry events,” he quips.
There is no restriction on the selection of players to the academy, exclusively established for the state. “We check the adaptation level, intelligence and the physique of the kid while selection. We scouts children between the age of 8-15 to our teams,” he says. Currently, more than 60 students are training under the academy. Apart from Tripunithura, the started indoor sports academy at Etumanoor in March.
Alex and team are moving forward to the next level by establishing a High-profile badminton academy ‘Yogendran International Badminton Academy’ at Karyavattom Green Field Stadium.