Badminton slowly getting back on track as states begin holding open tournaments successfully amid pandemic

Chetan Anand (left) and Parupalli Kashyap (right) presenting the prize to the winner in Hyderabad
Chetan Anand (left) and Parupalli Kashyap (right) presenting the prize to the winner in Hyderabad

The Badminton Association of India (BAI) wanted to kick-start their domestic circuit by holding the All India Senior Ranking Badminton tournament in Bengaluru this year.

However, the national governing body of sports has been unable to do so and they have had to cancel or postpone the proposed tournaments twice.

BAI canceled the Senior Rankings tourney in April 2021 and last week they postponed back-to-back tournaments slated to be held in Bengaluru from August-September.

Hundreds of players were eager to play in the Bengaluru tournaments and had already sent their entries. Enthusiasm among the players could be gauged from the fact that nearly 2000 entries were received for the Bengaluru tournaments. Players want to return to their groove by playing in a competitive tournament after a gap of more than a year and a half.

However, the local Karnataka Government did not give permission to Karnataka Badminton Association (KBA) to hold the twin tournaments because of the pandemic, which forced BAI to put off the tourneys.

Amid all this negative news, there is good news coming up from other states which will act like the light at the end of the tunnel.

State-level open badminton tournaments held in TN, Telangana, MP and Goa

In the last few weeks, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Goa and some other states have successfully organized state-level tournaments, marking the return of competitive badminton in their respective states.

One of the winners receiving prize from Parupalli Kashyap on Monday
One of the winners receiving prize from Parupalli Kashyap on Monday

After holding the Senior State Championship successfully a couple of weeks ago, Tamil Nadu Badminton Association is organizing the State Under-13 Badminton Championship from August 18 to 22 in Madurai.

In Telangana and Andhra Pradesh too, associations or leading academies are holding open tournaments for the seniors.

Chetan Anand Badminton Academy (CABA) managed to conduct a three-day open tournament for the seniors in Hyderabad. Former national champion Chetan Anand has revealed the reason behind holding the tournament.

“Main aim was to give the kids a tournament to play, motivate and assess themselves where they are. Due to the pandemic there is no competition and kids are just training and (have) no goals. So we thought it would be a great platform for the players initially before the national ranking tournaments start, so in a small level we conducted CABA Open,” said former World No. 10 Chetan Anand.

The four-time national champion and head coach of CABA, Chetan Anand, said all the COVID-19 protocols were followed during the tournament. Star Indian shuttler Parupalli Kashyap was the chief guest of the prize distribution function on Monday, which boosted the morale of the young participants.

“We have successfully managed to conduct the tournament. The finals were played today. We have followed the necessary COVID-19 protocols and restrictions. It’s a little tough but we gave the schedules beforehand and match timings so they can plan to come for their matches. We also allowed only the player, coach and one parent who had the match into the hall so that social distancing was maintained,” said Chetan Anand.

More than 500 players participated in the tournament in an indoor hall with ten courts. All the players enjoyed themselves because they were playing after a long gap. The Telangana Badminton Association provided technical support and players from all over Hyderabad took part.

“The response was tremendous and all of the players fought well and gave their hundred percent. Most of the matches went down to the wire. Hope all the players had a good feel of the tournament, enjoyed playing after a long time due to the pandemic,” said Chetan Anand.

Chetan Anand is hoping that other states will soon start holding the tournaments before BAI declares their new calendar in the next few weeks.

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Edited by Prem Deshpande
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