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Top Indian badminton stars facing shortage of funds for international tournaments

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Top Indian badminton stars facing shortage of funds for international tournaments

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SportsCafe Desk

03/26/2019

Numerous Indian badminton players are facing a cash crunch to finance their international commitments, courtesy the BAI’s bizarre informal rule of funding players, who are placed in the top 25 of BWF World rankings. This had led to them writing a letter to the BAI President to seek funding.

In what has come as shocking news for badminton fans in India, many top badminton shuttlers have been unable to finance their trips for the various levels of BWF (Badminton World Federation) World Tour championships. The Badminton Association of India (BAI) had laid out an ‘informal rule’, which allowed players in the top 25 bracket of BWF world rankings to be in the line for the financial assistance provided by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) as well as the federation. 

This has forced many top Indian badminton players such as Ajay Jayaram, the Asian team Championship Bronze medallist, Parupalli Kashyap, the Commonwealth Gold medallist, and Sourabh Verma, the reigning national champion to arrange for the funds from their own sources. The players have stated that the federation had conveyed that they would organise six national ranking tournaments each year, out of which two tournaments will be set aside for selection. The winner could then select two international tournaments out of 15-16 World Tour events, that will be funded by BAI.

There has been no written communication about this outlandish decision by the apex governing body. Instead, the players have only been told about this verbally. The dearth of financial support has led the players to form a part of the ‘national core group’ and write a letter to the BAI President, Himanta Biswa Sarma.

"Ever since the rule which only enables players in top-25 of the world to get funding from the BAI/sports ministry, we are spending money from our own pockets. Most of us do not have any private sponsors nor a permanent job and only few of us are spending from the money we get from our respective equipment sponsors while many of the players have lost their monetary contracts from their equipment sponsors and are using their family's money," stated the letter, as reported by TOI

"Being in the core group, all we are getting right now is training at the national centre which is extremely good but we also feel that we need more backing in terms of players being sent for international tournaments. We also feel neglected from the association as all the money is diverted towards the established players (who are part of top-25 in world rankings) who have multiple sponsors. We would be grateful if players from the core group could, at least, get 10-12 tournaments per year funded by the BAI/ministry," it further read.

Since the All India Senior Ranking Badminton Tournament at Kurnool and Bengaluru, which concluded on December 15, the players have not received any communication from the BAI. When the BAI Secretary General Ajay Singhania was contacted, he said, "We will soon abolish this practice. BAI is entering into a three-year partnership with the Reliance Foundation and the incoming money from the sponsorship will help all those second line of players who are affected by this top-25 ranking rule." This development might come as a relief to the affected players.

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