Tanvi Lad frustrated with lack of funding

Tanvi Lad, positioned 91 in the BWF world rankings, has elaborated on the difficulties faced by her due to lack of funding for participation in tournaments. Her coach, Tom John, has pointed to the larger problem of neglection for second-tier players.

Tanvi Lad: 'You need to consistently play on the circuit if you want to improve your ranking.'   -  K. Murali Kumar

Badminton player Tanvi Lad believes that she has the skill to break into the top-25 of the BWF World rankings. Lack of financial support, however, stands in the way. Tanvi, who is currently the World No. 91, states that on most occasions, she is forced to use her personal funds to compete in international events.

"Playing in a single event abroad can cost around Rs. 1 lakh. Even if you win the event, you only make around Rs. 40,000. So there is no question of breaking even. If you perform well in a few tournaments, you can then approach someone and get a little bit of money," she says.

In 2015, the 23-year-old had competed in eight overseas tournaments. "The top players in most countries take part in about 15 tournaments per year. You need to consistently play on the circuit if you want to improve your ranking," she says.

Tanvi moved to Bengaluru around six months ago, to work with veteran coach Tom John at the Tom’s Badminton Academy here. Once Tanvi was selected to the Core Group (comprising the best talent in the country), she moved to the Gopichand Badminton Academy, in Hyderabad.

"Gopichand, however, had his hands full, and could not give her the time that she needed. Tanvi then approached me, and I decided to assist her," John says.

John explains that Tanvi’s inability to get funding does not bode well for the state of the sport. "Saina Nehwal will not be around forever. After Saina, there’s P. V. Sindhu. Apart from the two of them, there is no one else is in the picture. Tanvi deserves to be the next flag-bearer for Indian badminton," he says.

Adequate support

John, a former England national coach, stresses on the need to provide adequate support to India’s second-tier competitors. "In Denmark, for example, the national federation funds the second-tier players as well as the top names."

"The second-tier players will not get to play in as many tournaments as the big names, but there is a concrete, transparent plan in place. This sort of planning is missing in India. The selection of players for tournament entries is done on a random basis," he says.

Tanvi, who is now in China as part of the Indian contingent for the Uber Cup, explains that corporate funding is another viable option, as players are allowed to display company logos on their jerseys.

"India has huge potential, but the lesser-known players are starved of match-play. If these players aren’t given a push, they will sink," John says.

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