Chetan’s new avatar

V. RAJU

The 32-year-old former World No. 11 has decided to take up coaching as the city (Vijayawada), that produced many internationals, badly needed a professionally-run academy. By J. R. Shridharan.

Four–time National champion and former India No. 1 shuttler Buradagunta Chetan Anand has donned a new avatar. He has launched his academy — Chetan Anand Badminton Foundation — at Vijayawada, his native place.

After a tumultuous personal life and a roller-coaster professional life owing to injuries, the 32-year-old former World No. 11 has decided to take up coaching as the city (Vijayawada), that produced many internationals, badly needed a professionally-run academy.

“I moved over to Hyderabad for want of facilities. The plight of parents from the coastal region of Andhra Pradesh is distressing as they are forced to shift to Hyderabad to pursue the dreams of their children in badminton. Our aim is to give them the best of coaching and infrastructure facilities,” said Chetan, who is a product of the Sports Authority of India’s National Sports Talent Contest scheme.

Former national chief coach and Dronacharya award winner Mohammad Arif, who was present at the inaugural function, seconded Chetan’s opinion and felt that more academies were the need of the hour in AP to meet the ever-increasing demand for specialised coaching. “Badminton is getting more Hyderabad-centric. The growth should cover all regions, as badminton is the second most popular game in the country after cricket,” he opined.

The academy will function out of the Dandamudi Rajagopala Rao Indoor Stadium and junior India coach G. Sudhakar Reddy will be the head coach.

Chetan said the academy, as it progresses, will tie up with academies such as the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy (Bangalore), for players and coaches-exchange programmes. “Prakash Sir has offered his support and coaches from Bangalore will train our players in the future. As part of exposure trips, we will send our trainees to other academies for friendly tournaments. Arif Sir (Chetan’s mentor) also promised to give his valuable support.”

He said soon two more coaches and a trainer will join the academy, as support staff, to render a helping hand to the head coach. “Yonex International is eager to support our academy and soon an agreement will be inked. It is already supporting five junior ranked players and we want the company to support another eight promising players. It will also supply shuttles on a monthly basis for the smooth functioning of the academy.”

Chetan said the academy will cater to junior players in the under-13, under-15 and under-17 categories, with emphasis on both beginners and ranked players. “We want to restrict admissions to less than 100. We already have around 15 national junior ranking players on our rolls.” Chetan, along with academy secretary K. Pattabhi Ram, will be visiting schools and colleges in search of talented youngsters for his academy. “We will be going to rural areas as well to identify raw talent,” he said.

Pattabhi Ram said that four players from the Czech Republic will join the academy on June 16 to train under Chetan. “They are the trainees of Sudhakar Reddy, who was in the Czech Republic on a coaching stint recently,” Pattabhi Ram said.

Chetan will play the USA and Canadian Opens to be held later this year and in all probability they will be his last tournaments as a player.