The badminton ace and former world number one, Saina Nehwal today evinced interest in opening a Badminton Academy in the hill state of Himachal Pradesh.
Nehwal disclosed her plans during a meeting with HP Governor Bandaru Dattatraya at Raj Bhavan in Shimla. She was accompanied by her husband Parupalli Kashyap, an Arjuna awardee, who is also an international badminton player.
Nehwal thanked the Governor and said she was keen to open a Badminton Academy in Himachal Pradesh.
“Players from North India have to go to Hyderabad and Bangalore for coaching whereas they should get international level coaching in the region itself. Further, coaching is very important for level playing and coaches should be of an international level so that performance could be maintained,” she said. Nehwal praised the cricket stadium in Dharamshala and said that most of the players were doing well at the national level but often lag behind at the international level. Parupalli Kashyap said many players went abroad for training at high altitude whereas this training could be done in Himachal also as there were plenty of possibilities in the state.
Governor Dattatreya said Himachal is a beautiful hilly state and that the youths of the state were “very talented” and have “qualities for becoming players”.
“Many times they do not get proper platforms due to lack of facilities and if such talents get higher-level facilities within the state, then surely they can illuminate the name of the country and the state at the international level,” he said.
Dattatraya also said that many players from Himachal were doing well internationally now but this number should increase.
The state government was providing facilities to encourage sportspersons and infrastructure development was being done for sports at the rural level so that players could emerge from the lower levels also, he said.
Dattatraya further said that with the help of international players like Saina, the possibilities for more sports infrastructure in Himachal could be explored. He added that he has been a player himself so he has a special passion for sports and wants to develop more international level facilities for sports in Himachal.
The Governor presented Himachali caps and shawls to Nehwal and Kashyap and gave them their Raj Bhavan picture as a memento.