Calcutta: The Bengal Tennis Association (BTA) launched an ambitious development programme at its new complex in Salt Lake Monday. The idea, of course, is to nurture young talent and produce more champions like the Leanders, Zeeshans and Fazaluddins.
The phase I of the programme for ‘beginners and intermediaries’ has 100 trainees, who will go through the paces in two batches and over two sessions thrice a week. Not more than ten trainees will take part in each of the six newly-laid synthetic courts at a time.
Tejbir Singh Bhandari has been appointed technical director of the programme and will be assisted by four qualified professionals and a physical trainer.
According to BTA secretary Manik Goswami, the trainees will have to pay an admission fee of Rs 2,500 plus Rs 500 monthly charges. They will be offered playing kits at a discounted rate.
“The merit-and-means policy will, however, entitle a deserving candidate to train free of cost,” Goswami added.
In phase II of the programme, which the BTA hopes to start in a month, another 100 trainees will be enrolled for the intermediate/semi-advanced and advanced stage. The annual student programme under this phase entitles any recognised player of the state to avail of the facilities at the complex and practise with his own partner.
The BTA also plans to adopt the top eight players of the state and manage their career.
The progress of the phase I trainees will be reviewed every six months. Each trainee is expected to take 18 months to graduate to the second phase.
An exchange development programme for the trainees with top-playing nations is also on the agenda.
The excellent facilities at the complex will be extended to adults as well to hone their skills during non-coaching hours.
A state-of-the-art gymnasium is being set up and will start functioning shortly. A swimming pool and hostel are in the second phase of the infrastructural development programme of the complex.