“There are a lot of junior boys and girls now, who have taken to badminton thanks to someone like Saina, but at the senior level, there are only a handful of players, who are really up to the mark,” Pawar said during a day-long badminton clinic for the city’s sports journalists organised by the Sports Journalists Association of Mumbai (SJAM) at the Goregaon Sports Club recently.
Pawar cited the shortage of proper training centres as a reason for this.
“One of the main and probably only academies in the country that receives whole hearted support from both government as well as private bodies is the Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad. While that academy is doing a good job, the need of the hour is to support more academies across the country.
“That’s the only way we can nurture maximum players and hope to produce more champions. If today China dominates world badminton, it’s because they have a very strong training system. They train thousands, and of that, even if a number of players drop out or don’t do well, they still have a few 100-odd good players left,” explained Pawar.