With its towering structures and galloping economy, Gurgaon is often portrayed as a symbol of a rising new India. Yet the city misses out on many counts, such as promoting games like badminton. It finds few takers among the Haryana State Industrial & Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (HSIIDC) officials.
And this is not because there are no badminton enthusiasts here. Lack of proper infrastructure for players, including the absence of a coach, is one of the reasons the city lags behind. Moreover, the Haryana Badminton Association (HBA) is not willing to pay more than Rs 3,000 for hiring a coach, to train the youngsters. Interestingly, this happens at a time when one of India’s best known badminton players, and arguably, the most promising female badminton player, Saina Nehwal, is from the state.
Far Removed from Reality
Small wonder then that the General Secretary of the Gurgaon District Badminton Association (GDBA) is critical of the sorry state of affairs and blames it on the officials. “We had written many letters to the HBA, but they did nothing to improve the facilities. In fact, the association offered us a paltry sum of Rs 3,000 per month for hiring a coach, for training the new crop of youngsters,” said Surender Jatrana, General Secretary, GDBA.
Jatrana added, “The HBA seems to be living in another world. Otherwise, they’d have never dared to make such an offer.” The state of Haryana has four badminton coaches, but none of them are for the city’s young players. Besides the absence of a regular coach, the city has no facilities for badminton beginners.
“We do not even have a single court of our own here,” said Jatrana.
Schools, Colleges Pitch in
While stating that badminton here is at the mercy of schools and colleges, Jatrana said, “We are grateful to Mr DR Yadav, who is the principal of Dronacharya Government College (DGC), for allowing us to use the college badminton court for practice.”
Besides DGC, Heritage School, Suncity School and Uni-world City too allow the GDBA to use their badminton courts. The only place where the HSIDC has a court of its own is in IMT Manesar; but that too is not available for the commoners, as it is allotted to the industrial and corporate houses functioning there.
No Tales of Success
“At the district level, we play in all age groups, but the last time we won was in the year 2008, when Youvan Dabas, who played in the Under-10 category, won the first prize for the district,” added Jatrana.
A Price that the City Pays
“We spend around Rs 4,000 per month for buying shuttlecocks and rackets. GDBA has no contribution as far as the game’s equipment are concerned,” said Rohit, a 17-year-old boy, who practises regularly at DGC.
However, Panchkula and Sonepat have two badminton academies. “Both the academies in Panchkula and Sonepat have facilities, ranging from hostels to coaches. That is why the districts are successful,” said Jatrana.
“The government had plans to build an indoor badminton court in Tau Devilal stadium. Rs 20 crore was allotted to Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), but nothing has been done as of now,” said Jatrana.
HUDA officials remained unavailable for comment, despite our repeated efforts.