Dream academy takes off

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By Staff Reporter in Guwahati
  • Published 2.06.06
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Guwahati, June 2: Two-time Olympian Dipankar Bhattacharjee had dreamed of setting up the first-ever badminton academy in the state ever since he formally hung up his racquet in 2003.

Delay in allotment of land for an indoor hall to house the academy, brought Bhattacharjee to Kanaklata Indoor Stadium, where his dream turned into reality last month with the ace shuttler imparting his very first coaching lesson.

Christened Iswarati Centre for Badminton Learning, the academy commenced its coaching at Kanaklata Indoor Stadium on May 2, where the three-time national champion had groomed himself to eminence. The academy will be formally inaugurated on Sunday.

Besides Bhattacharjee, Biswajit Ghosh and Rup Kumar Buragohain have donned the trainers’ mantle for the nine promising and “serious” shuttlers on the academy rolls.

“I was suffering from depression since I stopped playing. To overcome my depression, I started being part of coaching sessions of the Board of Sports of Assam at Kanaklata Indoor Stadium. Soon I discovered that the trainees welcomed my participation and took a keen interest. So I decided to take the help of some badminton enthusiasts here to formally start my dream project,” Bhattacharjee told The Telegraph. “I had planned to set up an academy so that I could share my skills and experience with the youngsters.”

Bhattacharjee had moved Dispur for allotment of a two-katha plot adjacent to land gifted to him by Dispur for his contribution to the sport. “However, it appears that this would take some time. There is no use wasting time any more, when I am getting active co-operation from the Board of Sports which is providing the infrastructure.”

On the modalities of inducting trainees, Bhattacharjee said, “We will induct any talented shuttler who is serious about the game. The fee structure (Rs 3,000 per month) is such that a trainee will have to be serious enough to fork it out. However, the fees are not meant for profit. It will be used entirely for the benefit of the players. We will not stop inducting players as long as we can accommodate them.”

The present trainees in the academy are Suranjan Bhobora, Ankur Baruah, Nirab Jyoti Bora, Manali Sinha, Mithun Das, Wasim Imtiaz Khanikar, Kunal Dey, Jyotishna Saikia and Ushashi Deka. “Leading players like Anjali Kalita and few others are also going to join us soon,” he added.

“The shuttle used in training has a big role to play in the skill development of a player. So, I will control the supply of shuttles in the academy myself to make sure that the right shuttles are used during coaching,” he said, exhibiting a firm grasp on every detail of his dream project.

About the functioning of the academy, Bhattacharjee said, “According to our arrangement with the Board of Sports, we will have to adjust the training timings with that of the Board’s regular coaching”. Explaining the nomenclature of his academy, he said, “First, it is a combination of my parents’ name ? Iswar (father) and Arati (mother) ? and second, it implies devotion, which is a basic necessity in sports and every other sphere”.

Two players of the academy, Suranjan and Nirab Jyoti, have already secured sponsorship from the city-based Vinayak Sales Corporation to participate in the Krishna Khaitan All India Junior Ranking Badminton Tournament beginning on June 11 in Chennai.

“Sanjay Lakhotia of the business house has come forward to patronise the players,” Bhattacharjee, the only Olym-pian from Assam, other than Talimeren Ao, said.