Mumbai, Nov 4: Some young badminton players aspiring to represent Maharashtra in the sub-junior national championship have more than the sport on their mind. They are jittery about travelling to Patna which is hosting the competition from November 11-16.
The fear of a backlash of the MNS’ anti-north Indian campaign is widespread enough to spur state badminton association officials to personally meet the players—the competition involves two categories: under-13s and under-16s—and their families to convince them that they would get “adequate security’’ during the tournament in Bihar.
Association vice-president Pradip Gandhe said: “We are into the third round of selection for the state team and have received 750 entries for the qualifying matches to be played in Thane.’’
There is considerable fear among some of the players and their family members. “The recent incidents involving attacks on north Indians by MNS activists have given rise to fear among players. Some family members have been asking us whether it’s safe to go to Bihar. We are convincing them players would not be harmed as we have got an assurance of safety from the Bihar government,’’ Gandhe said.
Association president V K Varma had called up Bihar government officials and got an assurance that the matches would be played under proper security cover. “We are now prepared to send the team to Patna and hope that everything goes well,’’ Gandhe said.
A contingent of 20 players will be selected by November 6 to represent Maharashtra in the national tourney.
A four-day tournament featuring shuttlers from across the state got underway in Thane on Monday to select state representatives for the nationals. “In fact, during one of the local championships (which will also be counted for selections) at Latur, there was an overwhelming response from 23 districts with 950 entries,’’ the official said. But with a lot of political statements being made in Bihar against the recent violence in Mumbai, fears of a possible backlash are taking hold.