Diary: Invaded by an army?

Dev S Sukumar/ DNA. New Delhi

The area around the stadium resembles a war zone. One is not convinced that the best way to handle a terror threat is to throw thousands of security personnel around the stadium. After all, the place is not going to be invaded by an army. The organisers would do better to focus on tighten the handout of passes. The passes can be reproduced by an ordinary scanner and printer, as they do not have a hologram or any other special marking.

Why are Indian tournaments always held in such disorganised fashion? As an Indian, it rankles. If the country is advanced enough to send an unmanned mission to the moon, and any number of indigenously built satellites, it is surely good enough to conduct a hassle-free badminton tournament.

The BAC is a Commonwealth Games test event, and this should have been an opportunity for the CWG organising committee and the Badminton Association of India to showcase the best it could offer. Unfortunately, their best is not good enough. The Siri Fort Sports Complex is still incomplete — the facade and concourse are still being built. The playing arena though has an interesting layout (a bridge divides the arena and the practise courts, enabling journalists to keep track of action on either side) and is about complete. I have no idea why the Badminton Association of India, and other organisations it is supposed to work with for the conduct of events, does not plan things better.

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Writing comes to Aditi’s aid

Aditi Mutatkar has probably been the unluckiest badminton player in India. A troublesome knee has caused two long layoffs, and each time she has had to work hard to get back to peak fitness. The most recent injury was in January at the national championships, where she developed a knee problem. Aditi, who has a lot of first-hand experience about rehab, decided to blog about her experiences. “It helped very much,” she said, after her first round victory over Fu Mingtian. “I’ve wanted to write for a very long time. It helps me express myself and I have so much to say and there are so many things I’m thinking about.”
Aditi’s blog is a ramble about her on-court and off-court life, and although she gives little thought to punctuation, it is a fairly interesting read. The Puneite is a voracious reader, and the only one in the Indian team who has a regard for serious literature.
One of her posts is a detailed recap of her ACL injury that she suffered in 2005 during a camp. The injury needed surgery and painful post-operative therapy. Aditi managed to stick it out and returned stronger than before. “Personally for me, this was the best rehab I’ve done,” she says, of recuperating from her latest injury. “More than the physical part, I had to talk to myself, because there were a lot of issues mentally. The last season was negative, I was taking too many opinions and getting confused. This time I decided to stick to my plan. I have too much experience with injury now.”

Hoping for better times
Thailand badminton has been in a spot of bother for a while now. Boonsak Ponsana, the gifted world no.8, led a rebellion against the national association over sponsorship issues before the Thomas Cup preliminaries in February. The team is divided between those who stayed with the association, and those who chose to turn professional.
The ongoing political unrest in Thailand has made the team nervous. Boonsak’s coach Udom C, who was a contemporary of Syed Modi, admitted that the situation was worrisome. “It’s very hard to say what will happen,” he said. “I’m worried about the country. The government is not strong. Every day you hear a lot of things, on TV, on the radio. Our king says, you cannot change bad people to good, but you have to get good people to control the country. In politics, it seems like no one is good, one is worse than the other. So you take the one that’s less bad.” Udom was reluctant to admit that the tension had affected his players’ morale, but the issue seemed to weigh heavily on his mind.

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About badmintonmania

Sometimes I wonder if I'm the Indian in Thoreau's Walden who makes cane baskets and is surprised nobody wants them. A. was talking about discipline when she said: "But Dev, if you want to move ahead in life, you'll have to be like that," and she may as well have defined everything else for me. I've played the low percentage game for too long to believe there's anything in it but the romance; the odds keep getting jacked up higher and higher; and you may be a good Idealist but a worse Fool.
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