Mumbai:India's shuttlers had spoken of a poor domestic schedule that saw them spend more time in camps than playing tournaments last year. Even so, nothing seems to have changed. This year they're being expected to play five tournaments in the space of just one month.
With the grand prix level Indian Open, the Badminton Association of India may well have promised to take the sport to a higher plane in the country, but they are still struggling to put the domestic structure in order.
The 2007-2008 calendar shows that there are no tournaments scheduled for senior players till December after which they will have to play five national ranking tournaments within the space of a month - this hectic activity for the second year in a row.
A look at the schedule shows just how crammed it is. The first national ranking tournament of this year will be played in Bangalore between December 12-16. From that point on, the shuttlers will literally shuttle from one corner of the country to another with just a two-day gap between tournaments.
Five tournaments in five weeks will not only take a toll on the players but on the organisers as well. The national ranking tournaments are essential to prepare the younger players for the international level.
"In order to spread the game, we need to strengthen the domestic format. Coaching camps cannot be an alternative to match practice," said Prakash Padukone, Former World Champion.
The present state of affairs in domestic badminton is bound to have an impact on the budding players. More so on the ones making their transition from junior to senior level. The only way to help them grow is to professionalise the domestic format.