Of late Maharashtra players are not hitting high at the national championships but for a handful of youngsters. What is the reason behind this you think?
Yes, we are doing well at the state levels, but the same is not carried forward at the national level. I feel that we lack a basic system. I mean basic system, because there is no proper place for physical conditioning of the players and this has made the youngsters not taking this sport seriously. And there are very few players doing well, but they are moving out of Pune.
Can this be the reason for some of the budding players moving out of the city for greener pastures to make this sports their career?
Very true, There are a very few, I say it again as the number of players making big at the nationals has reduced from the city. And these new finds ironically are moving out, to take this sport to bigger levels in their own way. Purva Barve is one of the budding players. I am sure she will also move out if things are not put in place.
What is the remedy. Do you think we should have more academies?
Having academies could be good, provided these academies have the things in order. There is no point in having academies who do not cater to the needs of the players. So there should more academies like the Nikhil Kanitkar’s Academy which can make the difference. There should be some special methods, I mean paths with experts, the former international players contributing. And most importantly we have to generate interest in the youngsters
What is the path you are talking about can you elobrate?
Youngsters in the age group of 8-12 should be tapped. And it is here the champions are. As many of us say, champions are not made but born, at this age group is where they are born to be champions. We do find over 2000 odd youngsters playing the game in the city, but out is this only 5 per cent of them are taking this sport seriously.
What is in store for the followers of the game to look forward to in the city this year?
We are having the All India senior national championship in the month of August which will be followed by the Sushant Chipalkatti’s Junior Memorial championship. Saina Nehwal, Indu and top Indian players will be seen in action which should boost the morale of the young players besides, the number of district and state meets.