The Sports Authority of India, on Thursday, organised a webinar for para badminton players as part of an online development programme.
The session, moderated by Paralympic Committee of India president Deepa Malik, saw India head coach Gaurav Khanna deliver a lecture on the basics of the sport.
Khanna spoke on a wide range of topics including the status of Indian players at the international stage, the history of the sport along with the classes, equipment and major competitions that are associated with it.
“I am so privileged to be a part of a marvellous fraternity. They are like my family. Their energy is unbeatable and unmatchable. They never complain,” said Khanna, who used to represent Uttar Pradesh as skipper during his playing days.
He added, “I have seen players of elite level like Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei. But, I have also been witness to para badminton events. And the wonderful structure that I have seen here is there nowhere. It is only para sport which can deliver you such a spirit of unity.”
When asked by SL4 shuttler Sukant Kadam as to whether there was any update on the Paralympic qualification criteria, Khanna said, “We have not received any official intimation from the International Paralympic Committee or the Badminton World Federation. However, we are in close touch with some officials who have informed us there will be a new terminology decided regarding the qualification which will be in the interest of all the players.”
The sporting world has come to a grinding halt owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and Khanna asked every athlete to look at the positives of the lockdown.
World Championship bronze medallist Manoj Sarkar concurred with the coach. He said, “The mantra is to stay happy. If we stay cheerful, then only we will be able to work towards our collective dream to succeed. For now, give time to your family and don’t stop training.”
The one-hour-long Zoom conference also had Prabhakar Rao (chairman, Para Badminton India), Ramji Bahadur Shrestha (President, Nepal Badminton Association), and other SAI and TOPS officials in attendance. Office-bearers of other national sports federations were also present. The next lecture will be held on Friday, at 3 PM IST.