Jharkhand, which does not have a team at the inaugural Indian Badminton League (IBL), has missed its only other chance of representation at the big-ticket glamour-stung tourney.
Jamshedpur-based Raju Kumar, the only national-level umpire from the state to have got a call for officiating in the league that flaunts names of Bollywood biggies Aamir Khan and Deepika Padukone as brand ambassadors, had to decline the offer.
This is because the 31-year-old, who works in the establishment section of Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC), has not been granted leave for officiating in the hugely rewarding IBL scheduled from August 14 to 31.
“I was looking forward to IBL, but I am not getting leave from my employers. Now, I can only rue missing the tournament,” Kumar said.
According to him, though IBL would have required a lot of travelling from one city to another, it would have been a great experience given that top shuttlers are participating in the event.
“Who would want to miss IBL? There is lots of money and glamour. But then again, one has to take into account other constraints,” he told The Telegraph.
DVC superintendent (administration) B.N. Roychoudhary said they granted leaves in keeping with central government rules. “Special leave is granted only for national and international tournaments. We have to follow this norm,” he added.
The IBL, for that matter, is not a national-level event.
Kumar is one of the only four national-level umpires in Jharkhand. The other three are Jamshedpur’s Alok Novel, Ranjeet Singh and Neeraj Shroff (Deogarh).
After topping the national-level umpires’ examination in 2010, Kumar officiated in a string of tourneys and has been active in state events for the past seven years. He also officiated as a technical official in the prestigious Indian Open Series — the only international-level competition organised in the country — in New Delhi from April 23 to 28.
IBL is a franchise league proposed by the Badminton Association of India. Banga Beats, Hyderabad Hotspots, Delhi Smashers, Mumbai Masters, Pune Pistons and Awadh Warriors are the participating teams at the tourney.