Vijayawada

Then a rice mill, now a badminton court

A rice mill has been transformed into a badminton court for the promotion of the game in Vijayawada.  

Good news for city’s badminton buffs as a defunct rice mill has been transformed into a badminton hall and from Friday the courts will be thrown open to budding players.

The hall, close to the Donka Road in Patamata, is equipped with four Hova courts and floodlights fitted with LEDs. The onus of imparting coaching will be on former India No. 3 shuttler J.B.S. Vidyadhar, who dominated the Indian badminton in the early 2000.

Vijayawada which was once a badminton hub lost its sheen when the activity was shifted to Hyderabad. Pullela Gopichand’s academy began to attract youngsters from all over (united) Andhra Pradesh and with city’s celebrated senior coach P.U. Bhaskar Babu shifting to Hyderabad as Saina Nehwal coach the game was put on a ventilator.

Arjun awardee and former international shuttler Chetan Anand made his bit to revive the game by launching an academy but it failed take off.

“I went on to play for the country from Vijayawada. I got everything because of the game and I want to give it back to the game. So far I had spent Rs. 10 lakh,” says Vidyadhar, who is an officer in the Indian Oil Corporation Limited.

Former legislator Yalamanchali Ravi’s role in sprucing up the coaching unit is laudable for he gave his rice mill free of cost. The mill took a new shape in less than a month with technical personnel from Chennai laying the synthetic courts. “The height of the hall is 30 feet which is sufficient for the beginners,” felt Vidyadhar.

Nearly 40 players will start practising from Friday and soon the hall will have three coaches to train the kids. “In one year I want to produce a couple of champions”.

Along with Mr. Ravi, Badminton Association of India secretary (events) K.Ch. Punnaiah Choudary, ACP Central Zone Satyanand and several other badminton administrators will take part in the inaugural function.

Incidentally, Vidyadhar was part of the Indian team at Thomas Cup twice and he also took part in the prestigious all-England championship and Asian Games at Doha in 2006. During 2002 and 2006, he was part of the Indian team at Singapore, France, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Canadian Opens.

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Printable version | Jan 15, 2021 5:33:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/Then-a-rice-mill-now-a-badminton-court/article14552926.ece

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