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S Bangarappa carried his kit even while travelling

The stadium is one of the best in the country. In fact, he was a lover of sport in general and did much to improve sport in Karnataka.

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Former chief minister S Bangarappa was a badminton buff, but many people may not know is that he was instrumental in getting things moving to build the Karnataka Badminton Association’s K Raheja Stadium on Jasma Bhavan Road. The stadium is one of the best in the country. In fact, he was a lover of sport in general and did much to improve sport in Karnataka.

“The land where the KBA building stands now was allotted by the late Karnataka chief minister Gundu Rao. But it was lying idle and there was a slum. When Bangarappa was the CM, he got the slum cleared and `20 lakh was sanctioned for the building construction,” recalls U Vimal Kumar, coach at the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy and former national coach. “The KBA building came up and was ready for the National Games that Karnataka hosted in 1997,” he added.

Kumar recalls the time when he and badminton legend Prakash Padukone used to join Bangarappa for a game during weekends. “Bangarappa had suffered a stroke and the doctors had advised him to play badminton. It is said that he carried his kit even whilst travelling and played. He used to call Prakash and me to the KGS Club and we played during weekends. He was really passionate about badminton,” he adds.

“He brought in Prakash as the chairman of the Karnataka Sports Council in 1991. Also, back then, the sports budget was only about Rs10lakh-Rs15lakh, but he raised it to Rs1crore, grants for sports associations were cleared and coaches appointed. DYSS commissioner AJ Anandan and Bangarappa did a lot for sport in the state,” says Vimal Kumar.

The other significant step Bangarappa took was the introduction of the Ekalavya Award, which is meant to recognise the achievements of Karnataka’s sportspersons at the national and international level.

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