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  CM inaugurates SAI-Odisha Regional Badminton Academy
BHUBANESWAR,15 May 2017 (Team Orisports)

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated the SAI-Odisha Regional Badminton Academy, in the presence of National badminton coach Pullela Gopichand here at Saheed Nagar Indoor Complex today. He also laid the foundation stone of a badminton hostel and gymnasium at the indoor complex.

A joint-venture project of Sports Authority of India (SAI) and Odisha State Sports & Youth Services Department, the regional academy aims to groom badminton talents from Odisha, West Bengal, Assam, Jharkhand and all other North-Eastern states as well as Andaman and Nicobbar Islands as future national and international shuttlers.


Speaking on the occasion, Patnaik thanked SAI for the setting up of the regional academy. ``Odiya players have shown their prowess at various national and international levels in several sports disciplines. Now I am sure we can create international-standard shuttlers from our local talent pool,’’ he said.

``I take this opportunity to thank Gopichand for his role as mentor for the budding academy and look forward to his continued support in enabling the academy achieve excellence. I am sure that under his mentorship we will have world champions in badminton from Odisha,’’ the Chief Minister added.

Gopichand was of the opinion that hard work, not past history is necessary to achieve success in sports. ``When I started my badminton academy at Hyderabad in 2004, there were 25 players, including nine-year-old PV Sindhu and 16-year-old P Kashyap. Apart from the achievements of Sindhu and Kashyap, 10 others have secured places among top 50 in world rankings. When I became national champion, Andhra Pradesh had no past history in badminton. Hence, past history is not necessary to create champions,’’ said the 43-year-old former All-England badminton champion and Padma Bhushan Awardee.

As many as 24 residentials trainees, including 11 from Odisha have been selected for the regional academy out of a total of a total of 207 candidates from all over the eastern region through open advertisement and rigorous selection process. The construction work of the Rs 1.37-crore badminton hostel and gymnasium project is expected to be completed by October this year.

According to SAI Executive Director Rockey Dias, three coaches along with one foreigner would be engaged to nurture the trainees. He also informed that sports goods manufacturing company, Yonex has greeed to provide equipments worth Rs 53 lakhs for the inmates of the academy.

According to Odisha Sports Minister, Chandra Sarathi Behera, Rs 98 lakhs has been sanctioned equip Saheed Nagar Indoor Hall with air-condition facility. The newly-appointed Sports Minister also announced that alternative arrangement would be made at Kalinga Stadium soon for shuttles, who have been deprived of practice facility at Saheed Nagar Indoor Hall.

It may be recalled that out of 80 playes, who have been practising at Saheed Nagar Indoor Hall for many years, only 11 have been selected for the Regional Academy. After being deprived of the practice facility, around 70 players and their parents have been demanding an alternative venue.

Local MP Prasanna Patsani, MLA Priyadarshi Mishra, Mayor Ananta Narayan Jena, Development Commissioner R Balakrishnan, State Sports Secretary Vishal Dev and Director Vinil Krishna were other dignitaries present at the inauguration ceremony.
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TOP: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurates the SAI-Odisha Regional Badminton Academy in Bhubaneswar on May 15, 2017.
RIGHT: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik felicitates badminton legend Pullela Gopichand in Bhubaneswar on May 15, 2017.


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