the rise and rise of indian badminton


CRICKET……!this word is so important for India.i think it comes right after roti,kapda aur makan!its a religion,every kid in india wants to be sachin tendulkar.i personally hate cricket,i find it unbelievably boring.the only thing i admire about it is THE GOD- SACHIN TENDULKAR.the little master has made the whole world run on the tunes of his bat.hes a maharashtrian,coming from a very humble background.his humility and conduct are awe inspiring.but barring that it fails to impress me or nothing about it excites me.its been a debate in india about how all the other games in india always get neglected and how we have no sponsors and attention given to players not playing cricket.badminton is facing the same situation today!it almost pisses me off.

badminton i think in the present times is having the most successful run.i think after prakash sir and gopichand,we have never had a string of so many noticeable performances in the history of badminton.saina is right now the face of indian badminton undoubtedly,and she deserves all the attention and accolades.but even if you look at indian badminton after her performances we have so many of them.the indian men have 4 guys in the top 50,aarvind bhat,anup sridhar,chetan anand,p.kashyap.they all are doing well.the mens team has been amongst the top 8 for the last 2 editions and playing quarters consistently in the thomas cup.we are amongst the top 8 in the whole world.its a huge thing!similarly in the women we qualified for the first time in the history of indian badminton this year for the finals of the uber cup and landed up reaching the quarters!it was one of the proudest moments for all of us seeing our flag out there with the top teams in the world.
in the women i am ranked 36 in the world after saina,there are around 3 more girls in the top 100.i have played two grand prix finals,i landed up playing the asian badminton championships quarterfinals this year.i have run very close to beating the top 20 players in the world and have some wins against them too.im not trying to advertise myself but what i am trying to say is that badminton deserves the nations notice as a game and all of us who are working so hard.sayali and trupti both have won challenger events and inching closer towards the top 50 bracket.
the recent junior performances have been so encouraging.p.v. sindhu played the quarterfinals in the junior world championships,similarly we had two guys sai praneeth and prannoy playing the semis in the same tournament.its an incredible thing to have two players playing semifinals in the world champs.both sindhu and sai have qualified for the youth olympics as well.our mixed doubles pair of jwala and diju have played super series finals,have won grand prixs and gold grand prix events.they are in top 15 in the world.
i think after reading about all these performances i am wondering why still badminton as a game is not getting its due.as players we cant do anything more really.we all are working hard,we all are performing.in the world of badminton the indian contigent today is looked upto!everyone is taking us so much more seriously.when we enter the stadium as a team or when we are practicing,teams like china,korea,japan look at us inquisitively!i will elaborate a little on this.we had to play korea in the league in the uber cup.ofcourse having saina with us is always does wonders because she just refuses to lose,i had to play the second singles.the korean i played is the super series finalist and i almost beat her losing the third game on 15.similarly sayali played next and she lost in three games to the third singles player.my point here is when we enter the court today,its not a given any more that a korean will win the match.they have to fight real hard to beat us,they no more can just win without effort.we have never had this before.the asians and europeans have started giving us that respect today.similarly in the mens,anup has beaten the likes of taufik,peter gade,tago,hafiz,and is an olympian.similarly the younger batch has players like anand pawar,ajay jayaram,p.kashyap and guru sai dutt who are running very close to beating the top players and you will see a host of great performances from all of them.
with all this all i mean to say is that the world has taken notice that india has arrived.we as players no more have the notion of china,korea,japan as unbeatable.we have rose in belief that we are as good as anybody in the world and if we persist we have the potential of being the worlds best.this kind of approach is new found.as players all we expect is a little bit of notice and so much more support from our people.
in india we are hungry for heroes.and today with so much of exposure it is so easy to create greatness out of mediocrity.here there is potential for real greatness but no one seems interested.we just want to run behind games which have either glamour like tennis or cricket where there is money.even though honestly speaking we dont have both we have one and the most important thing that matters PERFORMANCES.as a player i cannot be expected to market my game,or to look sexy or have excellent PR skills.thats not what i am trained for.we have marketing firms everywhere,we have corporates with loads of money to spend but they rather spend it on cricket or tennis,not really because they are better performers but just because they sell more than a badminton player who might be top 10 in the world.its really sad.badminton today has the potential of being as loved and as followed as cricket.we need to build the future of the next generation and we need to change the notion in india that if you want to play let your child play cricket or tennis,anything else is not worth your time and energy.badminton today is undoubtedly amongst the top 3 most successful sports in the country.though whos bothered they rather focus on sania and shoaibs first interview after marriage! common INDIA wake up to us! the WORLD already has!
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21 thoughts on “the rise and rise of indian badminton

  1. apart from cricket.. i hate sania mirza's popularity in comparison with our baddy stars.. and this has NOTHING to do with shoaib malik.
    do u kno that ur ranking in the world.. is about the max ranking that sania mirza has has EVER reached?
    lets not even get to saina nehwal whos world no.6 currently..
    how many more people kno mirza than they kno mutatkar?
    but you do people like me proud everyday!!
    Keep up the good work!!
    (^^^ all this might sound familiar but hey.. i mean it all and believe its worth posting here!! 🙂

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  2. Good article aditi, this could be your second career option after competitive badminton years.
    I read your earlier article too. It's inspring to new budding players. Keep this good work on.
    Uday Sane

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  3. well Aditi, I am going to say some hard facts. I always hear this complaint about other sports being neglected and only Cricket gets all attention. I am not a cricket fanatic (except for Sachin)and I do like to watch badi and I used to complain like this earlier.
    but fact is any sport is basically an entertainment, just like any other art. if it can entertain people, it gets all the popularity and with popularity comes money, fame, glamour, etc etc. its popularity depends on the audience it attracts. if there is demand your product will sale, it applies to any profession, including yours.
    See, there is always a sport with mass popularity in a group of people. cricket is popular here, football is popular in Europe, Africa, South America, North Americas play their own football, in SE Asia I think badi is popular. you will not have 10 sports with same popularity in one region.
    and how much govt can support and who all, there is a long list of sports and other arts.

    See SRK gets paid much more than Naseerudin Shah, even though Naseer has outstanding acting skills, why? because SRK is a better entertainer. if people prefer mangoes, your oranges can not sale however good quality they may be. I think more than cricket, others need to higher marketing firms to a market for their sport.
    Pranav

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  4. hi pranav,

    thanks for reading and expressing your views!i agree with most of what you said.badminton has always suffered with finding publicity and its largely because we dont have a strong association,really trying to promote the game.the way associations are run in india is not exactly ideal.today the world is all about marketing.i dont have a clue why our association hasnt still hired a marketing agency to promote the game.forget the indian association even the world body in badminton is struggling to promote the game on a larger basis.one of the major reasons there is that badminton has most of the champions from asian countries that is china,korea and japan.lin dan is like roger federer of badminton but he fails to attract that kind of attention because he refuses to speak english and the chinese team is never allowed to talk to the press across the world.this hampers the growth of the sport simply because china has a factory of world champions,but the world will never know them as they know the other sport stars because they are so secretive.

    there are many issues.but my point in writing this was that the country has to understand how unappreciated we players feel for all the hard work we put in.just because the associations and the media is not bothered to give us are due we never get the kind of attention we deserve.i am not asking people to stop eating there mangoes,but im just asking them to give oranges a chance.u never know u may like them too!:)

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  5. Mr Pranav, 1st of all sport is not entertainment. get that fact right. a sports person is not here to entertain people,he's here to win. If you are a player u might know that. The only problem with sports in india is everything other than sports. the association,the politics,the sponsors,the money.. the people involved in it has time to think about all other things and not the sport itself. All the players suffer coz of it.
    The blame game has been on for many years, i think its time for the young people to take some action, we can make a change and the best thing that players can do is give in more better performances..A saina or an aditi is not what we need need.. we need more saina's and more aditi's..:)

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  6. Aditi and Mr. Arjun Prasad,

    I completely agree with your point that the associations and politics has caused a lot of damage to many sports in India, including cricket I guess. Rightly you said Aditi that it is not a player's job to appoint a marketing firm and associations are basically established to handle these issues, to create a market for the oranges 😛 so you may blame these ppl and media but not cricket or its fans.

    Mr. Prasad,
    I am not a sports person professionally, but I am in the audience. A sportsman IS there to entertain people and I do not see anything wrong in it. The whole argument Aditi has made is about 'negligence' and I guess that is negligence by public i.e. lack of audience. If a sportsman is not there to entertain people, then he/she should not expect an audience and their appreciation and then why should there be this whole argument about negligence from public?

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  7. I agree with you Aditi and can feel your pain.
    However, I cannot oversee what Pranav has to say. And that, is the hard hitting fact. i would elaborate on this later. Couldn't resist to write a few lines right now though….

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  8. i have nothing against cricket or its fans.all i am saying is that its time that people realise that there is a big existence of other professional sports.and with times we have become so much better in them!

    and about entertainment,i dont have any major ideas!what else can i do other than play the sport to the best of my ability.as a player thats where my job is over.if when i stand on the podium tomorrow with a medal and my country is not proud of that just because i didnt entertain them enough,i think it would be a real shame!

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  9. Mr Pranav

    Do u see a chess match which is almost 6 to 7 hrs long? it is a sport right?? its nt to entertain the audience a sport like chess came into being..but it is a sport..we do get medals frm that sport..please respect the fact that a sportsperson have to work hard all his life to reach a point where his credentials can b shown..as for entertainment u can say WWF is entertainment coz its jus to make ppl entertain..matches fixed..players take drugs..a sport is nvr under the category of entertainment..maybe u can call IPL entertainment..
    As aditi said its her job to play to the best of her potential and win laurels to the country, she doesnt wanna or nor does any sports person wanna entertain ppl..u wont understand unless u play a sport man..get real..:)
    As for cricket, if india wins a match all tv channels fight to telecast the best of it..nd if india lose agn they fight to show wat made them lose..they telecast whn they go to play,which plane they are boardin,which route are they takin..everythin..cant show aditi made it to the quarterfinals of ABC..tv channels show wat ppl wanna see and they succeed in it..maybe its the ppl who needs to change their mindset..!!!!!

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  10. hey..
    really a nice article aditi..
    rather i dnt want to the restrict above as an article..
    its a true condition of today!
    but this situation is also changing day by day..
    and i'm sure that the players like you will dig out the gold even fron the coal mines.
    All the best..!

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  11. Hi Aditi, first of all its such a pleasant surprise to see a top badminton player blogging and doing a fine job of it. Your point is well made.

    I am a sports fan and a regular blogger. Apart from cricket and football, I have written frequently on hockey, tennis and badminton as well. One of my readers is Mr Harvir Singh, who is the father of Saina Nehwal. He has kindly agreed for an email interview. I hope to talk to him about how more parents can help nurture their child's sporting potential.

    And now that I have discovered your blog, I would love to talk to you about Indian badminton as well. We can do it over email or chat. There is so much that we fans don't know about.

    My blog is http://www.acommonfan.com. Its a non commercial enterprise. I don't even do google ads. Its done purely out of my love for sports.

    I will be really grateful if you agree. I had done an interview with JD Walsh about Indian basketball and it was enlightening. I am sure your interview will do the same for Indian badminton.

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  12. Well i kinda agree with what Pranav says…sports are there for entertainment. sure the athlete/sportsman is there to win the game, but for the audience at large that hardly matters. They see the sport because they want to be entertained; otherwise the sport itself would be quite pointless.

    I personally hate cricket and i truly believe that it is not a sport (i mean come on, half the time, half the guys are simply walking around, and the other half are just sitting in the pavilion for half the day…:D)

    Point of the matter is that cricket SELLS… it brings in huge money, it generates employment, it sustains itself. Setting aside the point that it is completely pointless, cricket works because it generates the moolah.

    The same cannot be said about badminton; at least not at this point. It is getting there and one day it might even be as popular a sport as cricket in India, all owing to players like Aditi; but in the end, its success would all depend on its ability to entertain and engage the audience successfully.

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  13. hi ajinkya,

    thanks for reading and giving your views.i am really have no idea what can i do more as a player to entertain.think of some ways.and ya i agree with ur views on cricket!:)..it is pretty boring!

    thanks again.

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  14. The only difference between cricket and the rest of the games in India is the number of viewers. Thats the only reason, that game is been highlighted and sponsored. If we all start going and start watching other games and show the same amount of interest, I think there would be a lot of involvement in other sports, just not by the sponsors but also by prospective and competitive players. As Aditi says there are lot of heroes in other sports its just we don't see them because we don't go to see there respective games and sports and those heroes do the same hard work what Sachin Tendulkar does. I as a strength and conditioning coach and a sports trainer have seen players dedicating there lives to there respective games but nobody knows who and when do the perform. Personally i like watching cricket .

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  15. I am a passionate badminton fan I watch cricket and have played both but baddy is on the top of my list any day… I have been a marketing professional and a CEO I am 69 and I play at PYC 4 times a week
    Aditi has hit it on the head How do we make it popular? How do we try to get a wider audience ? When will the next girl want to be a Saina or an Aditi and the next boy want to be a Chetan or a Kashyap

    It has to be tackled in a multi pronged manner And Aditi is right We need a good driving Association with a clean balance sheet and an ability to attract sponsors and the media The Govt is providing enough but if cricket is popular today and the players are making millions thank the sponsors,thank the media and thank the association

    Who remembers that India hasnt won the cricket WC since 1983 but then we have Gods like Sachin and icons like Dravid and Dhoni et al to keep it going They are marketable personalities

    Sadly, Prakash got out of the Association because of Verma When will Verma be replaced ? And by whom?

    Can you imagine that a a private club like Badminton 45 in Mumbai has been the only one to felicitate our players recently Where was the Association and Mr Verma all these years?

    Saina has attracted attention in the media and she has some sponsors She needs to lead and take it all the way like Sachin has by performance She needs a stronger support system to sustain this which can come from sponsors

    The Aditya Birla Group ( Badminton 45 sponsors) and Reliance could definitely provide enough money if Verma was dethroned and someone like Prakash took over

    Then Aditi, Chetan, Kashyap could get support and the sponsors could influence the media to pay due attention and give coverage Maybe that can be the beginning of a media sponsor combine which can give our badminton players the space it deserves After that its up to them

    Its not impossible but replacing Verma is the key.. the first step Who can do that ?

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  16. Aditi,

    Want to listen some words from you on the incident of SARITA DEVI , not accepting the bronze,

    Have you ever faced such wrong decisions and got angry , please share,

    If possible write one blog this, we surely like read your thought on this .:)

    Like

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