`Attracting youngsters key to improving patronage'
The game has great following in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar PradeshIts inclusion in curriculum of National Institute of Sports is a shot in the arm to BBFILukewarm response from sponsors is disheartening
VIJAYAWADA: Ball Badminton Federation of India (BBFI) should conduct more tournaments in schools and colleges for rejuvenation of the game, P.V. Ramanamurthy, chairman of the Referees' Board of BBFI said here on Saturday.
Participating in the on-going All-India Invitation Ball Badminton Tournament at IGMC Stadium, organised in memory of Koraganji Narayana Rao, former chief referee of BBFI, Mr. Murthy emphasised the need for continuous coaching assignments to attract more youngsters towards the game, which was much cheaper compared to other games.
Pat for Railways
"Ball badminton is one of the oldest games. It was invented in Tanjore (Tamil Nadu) in 1856. But unfortunately, the game has failed to grow due to many factors," he said.
The game is patronised extensively in south India. Of late, some northern states are nurturing it with missionary zeal. The game has a great following in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. The role played by the Indian Railways is appreciable, as it is one of the few public sector giants to offer jobs to quality players. Incidentally, out of seven Arjuna awards presented to ball badminton players, Andhra Pradesh's J. Pitchaiah is one.
Inclusion of ball badminton in the curriculum of the National Institute of Sports, Patiala, has come as a shot in the arm to the federation, as nearly 30 players are getting trained at the institute.
The septuagenarian felt that lack of corporate support was also hampering the growth of the game. "For the conduct of senior nationals and other major tournaments, we need money. The lukewarm response from sponsors is disheartening."
BBFI effort to make the game an indoor one, mainly to lure more spectators, failed as the height of stadiums proved to be a major deterrent. "One can not gauge the flight of the ball during the spin service. The efforts have gone in vain as the ball is touching the roof," Mr. Murthy said.