Shuttlers make Balangir proud

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By SUDEEP KUMAR GURU
  • Published 30.09.11
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Balangir, Sept. 29: Balangir is emerging as a power-centre in the state badminton scene with players from here regularly making it to national-level tournaments.

Two young shuttlers from Balangir have qualified to play in national-level tournaments after they won the doubles title for men (under-19) at the state badminton championship organised by Orissa Badminton Association at Cuttack recently.

This follows Balangir’s phenomenal success last year in the state badminton championship at Talcher where two boys — Abhimanyu Bagarty, 12, son of a rickshaw-puller, and Surendra Nepal, 14, son of a daily labourer — emerged champion at the mini (under-13) and sub-junior level respectively and qualified to play at national level.

The reigning champion duo, Akash Nanda, and Abhishek Babu, both 18, are at present playing in an east zone tournament in Patna.

Secretary of District Badminton Association (DBA) of Balangir Suru Matari said they encourage young boys, especially those coming from the lower strata of the society. “We know that Balangir has potential in the field of sports and we look for hidden talents. Apart from providing free coaching, we provide help such as playing equipment, track suit and shoes to them. We are very happy that our efforts have paid off well as the two boys have made us proud by emerging champion and qualifying to play at the national level,” Matari said.

DBA treasurer Shankarlal Barai, who accompanied the players at the state meet, was very happy with the success of the players.

“At least seven of our players performed beyond our expectations. In fact, the champion duo, Akash and Abhisek, defeated another pair from Balangir, Akram Khan and Debapriya Negi, in the final. They had entered the final by defeating yet another pair from Balangir — Chandan Mishra and Surendra Nepal. Chandan Mishra also reached the semi-final in the singles (under-19). It’s an all-Balangir show at the state meet. The Balangir boys have been doing extremely well at the state meets and national level tournaments on a regular basis,” Barai said.

Ghanashyam Mishra, who coached the boys, said both Akash and Abhisek were very talented. “Winning titles in this tournament ensures a chance to play in the national level. I am really excited by the performance of players from Balangir who have done so well despite all odds. A small sponsorship would help them to improve their game in the future,” he said.