The Badminton Association of India (BAI) has decided to set up a fund of Rs. 25 lakh to help needy ex-players.

Announcing the action plan of the BAI of India after being re-elected its president for a second term, Akhilesh Das Gupta admitted the sum was “not a big amount” but maintained “it could help some former champions and players who need it.”

Former National champion Meena Shah, from Uttar Pradesh, will be the first to be offered this monetary help.

“We wish to offer Rs. 25 lakh every year and the unutilised amount, if any, from one year will be carried forward to the next year,” said Mr. Gupta.

The BAI also plans to bring in more overseas doubles’ coaches for juniors and seniors. “Since in every team championship, there are three doubles and two singles, the BAI will hold exclusive training camps for our doubles players.”

He conceded that the performance of the doubles players in the past two years was not much to feel elated about but said. “We want to continue with our plans and hope that in years to come, we’ll be able to get better results.”

While promising to present an improved version of the Indian Badminton League this year, Mr. Das Gupta said the BAI was also looking at the possibility of changing the format of the National championship.

“Our chief coach P. Gopi Chand had spoken about it in our meeting. Our technical committee is looking at the proposed changes. Many States are not happy about it but the matter is under discussion,” he said.

Meanwhile, most office-bearers of the BAI were elected unanimously on Tuesday, five days ahead of the scheduled voting.

On January 25, voting will be held only for the post of secretary (coaching and development). The contest will be between Omar Rashid (Assam) and K. N. Jaiswal (Bihar).

List of elected office bearers: President: Akhilesh Das Gupta. Vice-Presidents: T.P.S. Puri, Devender Singh, Pradeep Gandhe, Ashok Singh, Arvind Singhal and Bijoy Koizam. General Secretary: Vijay Sinha. Treasurer: Ashok Bajaj.

Secretary (tournaments): K. C. Punnaiah Choudhary. Joint Secretaries: K.K. Sharma, N.C. Sudhir, J. Arawindan, P. Ankamma Choudhary, Alaknanda Ashok, Narahar Thakur, Shekhar Biswal and K.N. Jaiswal.

Chairmen of committees: Adbul Ban Siddiqui (finance), S. Muralidharan (court officials), S.A. Raval (coaching development) and O.D. Sharma (tournament).

Keywords: BAIBadminton

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