Badminton Association of India (BAI), on Thursday, announced that the Indian federation in charge of the sport in the country will be bearing the cost of three international events to provide international exposure to young players ranked between 26 and 75 in the BWF World Rankings as on January 2.
This will certainly relieve young and emerging shuttlers who had to cut down on a number of international events due to a lack of funds in the recent past. However, the facility will be extended to only those players who are not part of the BAI national camp.
Players like national champions Chirag Sen, Anmol Kharb and Unnati Hooda, one of India’s most promising women’s singles players, will be key beneficiaries of BWF’s decision.
The BAI has also come up with a list of eight events – featuring two BWF Super 300 events and five International Challenge tournaments.
The players have been asked to confirm the tournaments that they want to participate in 2024 to BAI by January 6 on [email protected].
“The Badminton Association of India has decided to give funding for 03 International tournaments to the athletes between the World Rank 26 to 75, as on 2nd Jan, 2024 (only to those players who are not in the National Camp) and the finalist of Sr. National Championship in Singles Event and Champions in Doubles Event,” the BAI press release stated.
To avail of the facility, the players must ‘identify three tournaments from the given list towards their preparation’.
The BAI added, “Please note that in case any athlete does not get the entry for any particular tournament, he/she will be eligible to participate in the remaining ones only, out of the three tournaments.”
The eight tournaments are Sri Lanka International Challenge, Azerbaijan International, Sri Lanka International Series, Portugal International Series, Orleans Masters Super 300, Vietnam International Challenge, Dutch International Series and Swiss Open Super 300.
The latest move by BAI, perhaps the first time in Indian badminton history, is a solution to a long pending overdue, with several players unable to get exposure at the nascent stage of their careers due to financial constraints, affecting their prospects at the latter stage of their careers.
BAI’s move came at a time when India has been struggling to find replacements for PV Sindhu, with junior players struggling to make a cut at the highest level of badminton regularly.