Friday, Jul 04, 2003
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By Our Special Correspondent
Akut, a silver medallist at the week-long event, along with Dr. Amod Tilak, Milind Ghate, Sunder Shetty and Pradeep Gandhe (Vice-President, BAI) came to the Press Club, Mumbai on Wednesday. They talked about the performances of the Indian players and displayed the medals they had won.
The lovely cups and medals bore testimony to their achievements that was no less significant in the light of the fact that their careers had taken a decisive turn from the active playing days.
The MBA lauded their performances and said India and Maharashtra should be proud of them.
Akut, when invited to share his experience of playing in the event said: "We had our own apprehensions about the quality of the event. It was when we reached Sofia and saw the first day's proceedings that we realised we would have a battle on our hands. The first day's opening ceremony inaugurated by the IBF Vice-President Punch Gunalan engaged all of us and set the mood for the championship.
"It was a journey that turned out to be fairly successful, but what caught my attention was the camaraderie shown by players of the other countries. Many of them were in their national colours. They carried their national flags and cheered their teammates sitting together. We were short on this. I hope things will be more encouraging in the future World senior events.'' Dr. Tilak said `they felt younger.'
"The drive shown by players from Russia, Germany and Denmark was phenomenal.''
Ghate expressed his happiness for taking part in the tournament and win medals.
The get-together soon turned into a lively session with Gandhe excusing himself to speak on behalf of the BAI on the issue of the players not able to get support from State association and the national federation. "The Central Government has been very good to badminton in recent times. There were times when we had to wait at the Karnail Singh stadium for clearance from the finance ministry. Things have changed for the better.''
Entries were restricted for the event in Sofia and Akut, Tilak, Ghate, George Thomas and Sunder Shetty's entries were routed through the BAI, which in the future should offer more support in the form of at least providing equipment and national colours.
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