Badminton Association of India and the reigning world champion P.V. Sindhu have recommended his name for the Dronacharya Award. But more than that, former SAI badminton coach P.U. Bhaskar Babu is concerned about the future of Indian badminton after Saina Nehwal and Sindhu.
The 65-year-old, who runs the Bhaskar Babu-MLRIT Academy here, is also worried about the huge gap in the standards set by the champion duo and the young talent trying to make a mark.
“I believe the biggest reason for this is the disbanding of many schemes of both SAI and by the State Sports Authority. You come up with any big names in different disciplines till 90s they were mostly products of either Sports Hostels or SAI Academies,” Bhaskar informs Sportstar .
“A beginning has to be made now by grooming the winner and runner-up in each of the age groups – under-13, 15, 17 and 19 years - not just in badminton but also from individual sports. This will ensure a pool of young talent and then have a weeding out process based purely on performances after a critical review. Most importantly, they have to be given scientific training and proper international exposure and an honest selection process is the key,” he explains.
“Mushrooming growth of academies will not produce champions. The sport as such is a costly affair now. Unfortunately, in 90 per cent of the academies, basic training is missing and thus the players are not having a strong foundation and fading away quickly,” Bhaskar says.
“Money is definitely being spent even now by both the centre and the state governments. But how judiciously is the big question. There has to be a professional approach by the players, coaches and the parents to get the results and accountability,” Bhaskar says.
Reflecting on Saina, the former coach says she has to believe in herself that she can be back at her best. “She can still play for a couple of more years. She has always been a fighter,” he says.
On Sindhu, Bhaskar says that on current form and fitness she remains the supreme player and can be unchallenged in big events for the next four to five years. “But, again, like all great players, she needs to keep working on the weaknesses, if any, to keep improving with each tournament,” he says.
“I personally feel that Sindhu should take part in events only when she is fully prepared and play her natural attacking game,” he concludes.
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