National Camp Called off Due to Unavailability of Shuttlecocks


Panaji, Feb 7: India's chances in the Thomas and Uber Cup qualifiers later this month were dealt a blow after the national camp, scheduled to begin in Goa on Thursday, was called off due to unavailability of shuttlecocks.

The Badminton Association of India laid the blame squarely on the Sports Authority of India and the sports ministry, saying the association has been running pillar to post for the last five months to get the shuttlecocks in time as the SAI failed to provide them.

The country's leading shuttlers who had reached the venue were asked to return home.

BAI president V K Verma said it is the first time that a national camp had to be called off due to the lackadaisical approach of the SAI and sports ministry.

"It is unprecedented and upsetting for our players. This has happened due to the complete apathy on the part of DGSAI [Director General Sports Authority of India] and the sports secretary. I have met them so many times and informed them about the shortage. We have been managing somehow by begging and borrowing shuttlecocks," he said.

Around 32 senior and junior shuttlers were to be part of the camp, which was meant for the Thomas and Uber Cup qualifiers, All England Championship and other European Circuit events in March.

The juniors preparing for the 2010 Commonwealth Games were also to attend the camp.

"There is no time to have another camp because the Thomas and Uber Cup qualifiers are starting on February 19 in Vietnam.

"This was a very important camp because only five tournaments carrying Olympic qualification points are left and now there is no time left. We have four to five players in race for qualifying in Beijing but all our efforts will fall flat," Verma said.

The BAI also called off another camp meant for the juniors, scheduled to take place in Chandigarh, in preparation for the Dutch and German Open, starting on February 27, and the Commonwealth Youth Games later this year.

"This is sabotage on their part for the preparation of the Youth Games in Pune this year. Every Federation is facing problems," Verma said.

"I even told them that we will import the shuttlecocks and they can pay later but DGSAI said we will have to get procedural clearance. We did the paper work required but we have not got the clearance," he said.


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