NEW DELHI: It is safe to call Hyderabad the cradle of badminton in the country, with almost all top Indian shuttlers having learnt the tricks of the trade at Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy. However, the fans in the city rarely get to see these stars in action. Premier Badminton League does provide them this opportunity, but that is held only once a year.
That is why Hyderabad Open (BWF Tour Super 100) came as a breath of fresh air last year, when it was held for the first time. From Sameer Verma — who had clinched the men’s singles title — to the young men’s doubles duo of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, there was a considerable amount of talent on the courts at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium. The second edition of the tournament is scheduled to begin from August 6 to 11. But the organisers are a bit worried, as they say they are short on funds to conduct the tournament. Sources in the know said the budget is between Rs 1.7 to 2 crore.
There is ample excitement in the air for the event, considering some big foreign names are also expected to take part. “Since this is an Olympic qualification year, quite a few big names are set to play in Hyderabad this time. We have IDBI as the main sponsor, but we are still in need of more, as funding for the tournament is not up to the mark,” Srikanth Punati, director of Blitz Events and Exhibitions Private Limited, said on Wednesday. The company has been contracted by Telangana Badminton Association to organise the tournament.
Sources say a lot of arrangements need to be done before the stadium can be ready for the event. “The wooden courts at the stadium need to be repaired or changed,” sources said. There are, however, some positive signs, with the State sports and youth services minister V Srinivas Goud saying on Wednesday that a meeting will be called to discuss the matter. “The government has been really busy with some of the projects. We will soon deliberate on this issue,” Goud said.
Facelift for Gopi’s academy
The foundation-laying ceremony for six air-conditioned courts, a sports science centre and a coach training centre was held at Gopichand Academy on Wednesday. As reported earlier by this daily, the courts are being constructed to get athletes used to the air-conditioned environment they need to engage in when they travel for international tournaments. The CSR initiative is in partnership with Kotak Mahindra Bank. “Most international events are held in weather-controlled, air-conditioned courts. So, to actually have these type of courts for practice, is really good,” Gopichand opined.