im in vienna for the austrian challenger.i play my first round tomorrow against a japanese i havent seen before.i am sure it will be a good match and i will have to be at my best to win it.i have worked hard and i feel good and i am pretty positive about tomorrow.i am playing these events to get my ranking lower,i am around 80 right now and i aiming at top 40.i am pretty confident of achieving that goal.
vienna is supremely cold right now its freezing at -8 degrees,there’s no snow as of yet.im staying in a small hostel called do step in.my room is small,with 1 bed,bathroom,and tv,which doesnt know english.though i have free wifi in the room which kind of makes up for otherwise lonely atmosphere.when you travel on your own hard earned money there is no luxury of a hotel which costs around 50euros to 65euros a day.i have to always keep searching for cheaper accommodation and places which are near to the stadiums.google is my best friend here.i use the google search and the ,maps to locate the best of deals for hotels.i also find out the buses and trains available from the airport to the hotel.it has made me pretty efficient i know i will never get lost,i will always find my way back home from anywhere.
i mostly end up travelling alone for tournaments .there are a lot of guys playing abroad but you hardly find girls travelling much, especially on their own.ofcourse saina is there but she plays a higher level of tournaments.its a difficult life,i have to say.as a player i have to take care of everything.my ticketing,my visa,running around for documents for visa,setting a tight budget,keeping account of the money i spend,practice and keep fit,and then finally play and win.
i sometimes do wish if i could just play and there could be somebody else to bother about all the other stuff.but that is not possible for a middle class indian badminton number 2 player.its actually a strange philosophy.everybody says you have to perform and then expect sponsors.i completely disagree.a player with potential and a sincere work ethic should be supported from the struggling period,and ofcourse setting realistic goals to achieve.i mean it should be performance oriented. right now i have a little bit of money saved but tomorrow it will get over,then what happens should i stop playing??.i am spending atleast a lakh on every trip to europe,and may be around 60 to 75 thousand when in asia.and if i am playing 12 tournaments a year that will mean i could spend anything between 8 to 10lakhs.its a little scary thought not having any money in the bank.
the badminton association of india is in a mess forever.last year because of the cwg we had money from the government and so we could get funding,but now the government has issues with sponsoring us as V.K. Verma has been president for donkey years and is not ready to leave.i dont want to get into the politics of it.bai is sending only 4 singles players(national champions, saina and kashyap) and 1 doubles pair.the tournaments they are sending the teams for are only super series and premier league events in which i dont stand a chance of getting an entry that means i might be the national champion but i still will not get funding.
japan has sent a team of 20 to 30 players in total for this challenger event with a coach and physio.can you imagine that??we shouldnt be asking stupid questions like why are the asians better than us.for god sake they have a plan,they have an association a system which works for the betterment of each and every player.
needless to say that all of this makes my will even stronger to win.being on your own always gives you that extra determination to win.as you know how much has gone into you landing up in the tournament.i want to win for myself,for my hardwork and to prove to myself that i can be what i want to be even if nobody else is bothered.
we are a country of exceptions with regard to achievement in sports.i have just realized to change that we the players have to take the responsibility alone.im sorry i cannot leave my dreams in the hands of people who forget trying to help us,they dont even give a shit.
p.s. i would like to thank my company bharat petroleum,tata capital and yonex for helping me out.without them it would have been impossible.