Goa Badminton Association (GBA) will look to build a strong and sustainable badminton programme in Goa that brings medals not only at the upcoming National Games but also produce medal-winning teams and players in future, stated secretary Sandeep Heble.
Heble, who is also a Nodal Officer on behalf of Goa Olympic Association for the National Games to be held in October/November this year in Goa, revealed GBA’s plans for preparedness for the showpiece multi-sport extravaganza.
Starting from the plans to prepare the team for the Games, right up to the long-term vision; Heble analysed and outlined the steps that GBA is marching into.
Q. Sports Minister Govind Gaude has put the impetus on training for the respective Goan teams for upcoming National Games. What is Goa Badminton Association’s plan for preparations of the badminton players from Goa?
A. Goa Badminton Association will focus on providing the best possible training for its players to ensure they are prepared for the upcoming National Games. To achieve this, it is crucial to provide specialised training on par with the best badminton academies in India. While such specialised centres of excellence are presently unavailable in Goa, we are contemplating providing our best players such as Tanisha Crasto, Anura Prabhu Desai, Tejan Fallary, Lydia Barreto, Arjun Fallary and a few others advanced training in outstation academies to hone their skills. It is also very important to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each player and develop a training programme that focuses on improving their skills and abilities. In line with Goa Government policy, we will also consider hiring best experienced coaches and trainers who can design such customised training programmes for our players who are and will practice here in Goa.
Q. What is your assessment of current infrastructure and how far do we need to go to get it ready in all respect to produce peak performance?
A. While we may lack a residential academy, Goa otherwise has built excellent infrastructure which can be made optimum use of. Our association has plans to arrange for regular practice sessions, tournaments, besides exposure trips to help players gain valuable experience and prepare for the upcoming games. The Goa Government with Union Ministry support has also come up with a Khelo India Centre at Campal, which has been operational since last year. Some of our top players have availed the services of this centre in the past and their coach Irfan Khan has trained our senior players from time to time. The SAG’s two senior coaches Roy Ataide and Vinayak Kamat have also been very supportive of our activities. So these are good option which could be utilised to start our preparations well in advance. Moreover, the Khelo India centre has good facilities to ensure that players are physically and mentally fit to compete at the national level.
Q. What is the GBA requirement from Govt for best training/coaching/diet facilities for National Games prospects?
A. The Sports Authority of Goa has provided State Sports Association good support in the past. The Sports Minister has been very enthusiastic and has a progressive approach. He has assured a comprehensive funding plan along with various other incentives to Goa athletes during an earlier meeting, and a good funding plan will be central to enhance medal-winning prospects of Goan athletes. By providing the requisite resources and support, we can ensure that our players are well-prepared and have the best chance of winning medals at the upcoming National Games.
Q. How would the approach be in terms of target or output of the team? What would Goa Badminton Association or the sport look to gain from National Games?
A. Winning gold medals is the ultimate goal for any athlete and our badminton team and players should be focused on achieving this target, with the Association and the Goa government providing them with the best possible support to meet these targets. Our primary goal will be on building a strong and sustainable badminton programme in Goa that cannot only win medals at the upcoming National Games but also produce medal-winning teams and players in future. Besides providing best possible training to our top level athletes, the thought process must also include investing in grassroots development programmes, training and development opportunities for coaches and officials, and providing access to quality training facilities and equipment thus creating a well-defined badminton ecosystem for creating future winners. The Sports Minister has expressed similar thoughts earlier and we want to work hand-in-hand with the Goa Government, Sports Minstry and the SAG to provide to ensure that the bar of badminton is raised to National and even International levels in the years to follow.