CHENNAI: There is a common sight at Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium, where the All-India Junior Ranking Badminton Tournament is being held. Both parents and players are trying to grab something to use as a fan. While the temperature in Chennai is soaring, the stadium is a hot box in itself, without air conditioning. Even in the gallery, if you see people crowded near certain areas, it is because there is a pedestal fan nearby. And there are only four to five of them for such a huge space.
However, on Tuesday, when the tournament was inaugurated, the air conditioners were running for a brief period. And the organisers of the tournament said that they don’t have enough budget to keep it running for six days straight. They also said that it will be back for the last two days, for the semifinals and final.
“When we planned the tournament, we had a budget in mind and thought that it would be enough. The Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu (SDAT) is charging us `6,000 per hour for AC. That was too much for us,” said an organiser. “The sponsors are doing their best and the SDAT too are helping us out in whatever way they can. Maybe we can do it better next time.”
However, there were mixed reactions from the players. Drift is a very important element in badminton. It is a big problem in large halls such as this. And with air-conditioning, the air that comes out from the vents can change where the shuttle lands. It was also a talking point during the India Open in March. The premier tournament of India’s international calendar shifted venues for the first time from New Delhi’s Siri Fort Stadium to the KD Jadhav Stadium. The new venue was larger and impacted the drift, which was new to all the participants. “Everything has its own advantages and disadvantages. Air conditioning would have helped us cool off but then there is a problem of drift,” said seventh seed Smit Toshniwal.
Gayatri eases past Kushi
Top seed Gayatri Gopichand on Thursday showed why she is a cut above the rest as she eased past Kushi Thakkar of Delhi 21-15, 21-15.
It was almost like a practice game for the daughter of India coach Pullela Gopichand. There was one setback when 15th seed Medha Shashidharan of Karnataka went down to Khashi Gupta of Delhi 19-21, 19-21 in a tight encounter. Fourteenth seed and Tamil Nadu player Nivetha M got the better of Akanksha Matte of Andhra Pradesh 21-9, 21-14.
Select results: Gayatri Gopichand Pullela (x1) bt Khushi Thakkar 21-15, 21-15; Smit Toshniwal (x7) bt Siddhi Jadhav 21-11, 21-12; Nivetha M (x14) bt Akanksha Matte 21-9, 21-14; Malvika Bansod (x3) bt Ananya Praveen 21-9, 21-8; Aditi Bhatt (x12) bt Sreshta Reddy K. 21-8, 21-15.