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Shuttlers in Kerala lack financial support, laments HS Prannoy | Badminton News – Times of India

KOCHI: The current lot of Kerala shuttlers are doing extremely well on the international circuit. While HS Prannoy and Kiran are making waves on the men’s singles circuit, Treesa Jolly and MR Arjun are causing a stir in women’s and men’s doubles respectively.
The common thing about these shuttlers is that after making a mark at the junior level in the state, all four of them moved out of Kerala to badminton centres in Hyderabad and Bengaluru to bolster their careers.
Prannoy, who is the flagbearer of Kerala shuttlers these days, believes that moving out of the state helped him and his contemporaries to achieve big in badminton since the state gives less support to shuttlers.
“Our state had the reputation of producing the best shuttlers in the country. Even today, I believe that Kerala has the best talent in the sport in India. But I don’t see any of them going to make it big anytime soon,” India’s top male shuttler, who is ranked world no.8, shares his fears with TOI.

“The game has become very expensive these days. The parents are finding it hard to translate their kids’ dream into reality. Parents usually support the young shuttlers till the age of 16, but after that, the money-spending graph starts to climb, and the players find it difficult to take their career forward without a sponsor. Eventually, the majority of them are forced to abandon their dreams midway,” adds Prannoy.
The Thiruvananthapuram native feels that the number of shuttlers turning professionals will diminish if they don’t receive the right kind of support. “There is no shortage of coaching camps in Kerala during summer vacations. But the question is how many of them take it seriously and become professionals. We cannot blame them for that as the game has changed a lot, and now they need huge financial support at the early stages itself to take their game to the next level.
“The solution is to find financial support from various corners of society, including corporates and respective state governments. For example, in Odisha, the state government funds badminton like many other sports. But in Kerala, unfortunately, nothing of that sort is happening. The shuttlers need to find their own way to the top league,” added Prannoy.
Meanwhile, Kerala Badminton (Shuttle) Association (KBSC) secretary R Rakesh Kumar said that the association is trying its best to give maximum exposure to players. “Players like Kiran George, MR Arjun or Treesa have received financial support when they were playing well in the national circuit,” he said. “State backing is different in various states. In Kerala, the state association sends selected U-15 players for a two-week-long training camp in Indonesia every year. Players like MR Arjun and Kiran George were part of this programme at the start of their careers,” Rakesh pointed out.

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