pic credit : [email protected] Kashyap

The top Indian badminton players who make the country proud in every tournament are facing a shortage of funds to participate in international fixtures. From National Champion Sourabh Verma to CWG gold medallist Parupalli Kashyap such bonafide players have been forced to arrange funds for their international matches including Superseries and Grand Prix. This comes after the Badminton Association of India (BAI) introduced a new informal rule in which only top 25 world ranked players of Badminton World Federation (BWF) are eligible for financial assistance from the federation and the Sports Authority of India (SAI). After this reigning champion, Sourabh Verma reacted strongly and appealed for financial support by saying, “I don’t have financial support to play international tournaments. Now due to the new rule, only the top 25 players are getting financial help from BAI. That led to my international exposure being reduced and hence my ranking slipped”.

The lack of financial assistance prompted great Indian Badminton stars to knock the doors of BAI president Himanta Biswa Sarma for help. The National champions from every badminton format including singles, doubles and mixed doubles have requested the authorities to raise the funds for their international tournaments. Ever since the rule came into action the players are spending money from their own pockets. The irony is this that most of the players do not belong to any private sponsor or business to arrange funding and only few can afford their expenses through respective equipment sponsors while many of the players have already lost their financial contracts from sponsors and are surviving on family’s assistance.

“We will soon abolish this practice. BAI is entering into a three-year partnership with the Reliance Foundation and the incoming money will help all those second line players who are affected with the new rule” said BAI’s secretary general Ajay Singhania on the increasing appeal of affected players.