Mumbai: Maharashtra Badminton Association, with former international player Pradeep Gandhe at the helm, plans to bring the World Championships to the city soon to raise the profile of the sport here.
As an ideal curtain-raiser for the mega-event, the association has decided to try and get the hosting rights for a Super Series event prior to it, according to Gandhe.
"We are planning to host the World Badminton Championship, and an ideal scenario for us would be to host it either in 2013-end or May 2014," Gandhe, the MBA chief and the former doubles expert, said.
However, the plan needs the backing of the Badminton Association of India (BAI), he said.
"First we will have to get the approval of Badminton Association of India (BAI), which will then approach the Badminton World Federation (BWF). Besides, we also have to see which slot is available with them," he said.
The minor hitch, if it can be termed so, is next year`s London Olympic Games, as it was not yet clear what slots were available for MBA to put forward its plans, he said.
"With the London Olympics scheduled next year, there would be no World Championships and the exact schedules of other tournaments need to be seen," Gandhe said.
MBA`s dream of organising major international badminton tournaments has got a big boost because of the top infrastructure that is expected to be available in the city due to the high-tech indoor stadium nearing completion (after a long delay) at the National Sports Club of India in Worli.
"Maharashtra Badminton Association, along with National Sports Club of India (NSCI), is quite equipped to take up such events. We have the infrastructure, inclination, team-work, besides the co-operation of the NSCI, and the BAI. But we cannot announce our intentions to host such an event unilaterally...it would be unethical," he added.
He also said Mumbai had a great chance of hosting a Super Series event.
"A Super Series event can act as a curtain-raiser. India has been allotted one Super Series every year. (For us to host it) We will have to make a presentation before the BAI, depending upon the readiness of the NSCI stadium. The decision is taken in the BAI`s executive meeting," Gandhe said.
"Mumbai`s chances of hosting the event are brighter for two-three reasons. For one, such a tournament has never been held here, such infrastructure was not here before," Gandhe said.
Gandhe expects support from Hyderabad and Delhi for Mumbai`s cause, but saw Lucknow, where a new facility has been constructed, as a rival.
"Hyderabad and Delhi would be willing to support us, having hosted such events earlier. But Lucknow may offer to host the event, or even any of the north-eastern states. The facilities are good in most of the cities," he added.
Gandhe said the NSCI stadium at Worli had received a better-than-expected response when it hosted the Rudy Hortono `clinic`, a corporate tournament, and the All India Senior National ranking tournament over the last few months.
"The infrastructure here has been appreciated by badminton legend Rudy Hartono, also a committee member of the BWF, who visited the stadium in June."
On the expectations from the Indian players in the 2012 London Olympics, Gandhe said barring Saina Nehwal, who has ensured qualification for the event, other players would have to participate in as many international tournaments and win as many points as possible before the May, 2012 cut-off, as only the top 64 players will make it to the Olympics.
First Published: Sunday, September 11, 2011, 11:40