As a former badminton player and president of Goa Badminton Association (GBA) Narahar Thakur knows a ball from a shuttle. In a brief chat he dwells on the three badminton stars Goa has and the flight of the shuttle
- We have three ranked badminton players and all three are out of Goa. What is the way back in?
One of the things that can be done is to see if the government can identify a place to start an academy along with the Badminton Association of India. During the BAI core committee meetings Goa has been discussed as a possible centre for the West Zone. If the government is ready to stretch its hand to BAI I am sure BAI will reciprocate. It will not just be an academy for Goans but for all from the West Zone and interested will have to partly pay. The minute something is free, the charm is lost.
- Goa has talent, Goa has infrastructure and now GBA is getting Rs 5 lakh from BAI. Will change happen?
Money should be given to players till a certain level. Once they reach a certain level, they should be able to earn through sponsorships. They do not need grants or help from the government or the association. We should look at ourselves to be the stepping stones. Help athletes take the first jump and then set them free.
- Is GBA thinking of setting aside money to help players financially?
I am thinking of keeping a part of the funds earmarked by BAI for sportspeople only and the rest for the development of the sport in Goa. There are some players who need money during their beginning and I think the association has a part to play in that. The performances of those availing these funds can be monitored and decisions can be taken accordingly. Travelling out of Goa for tournaments is an expansive affair and GBA can subsidise these costs.