Mumbai: Badminton great Prakash Padukone has tied up with Tata Capital to launch a talent hunt for children between 8 and 12 years of age at five gymkhanas of the city culminating in a two-day tournament next month to select eight of them to undergo training at his Bangalore-based academy.
The talent hunt will be held from May 27 to June 7 to identify potentially good players for the two-day tournament at the Cricket Club of India on June 15 and 16 from where four boys and as many girls are to be picked for a training stint here or at the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy, it was announced at a news conference on Monday.
Padukone said a renowned coach from Indonesia, Yusuf Johari, has been roped in to identify potentially good players and would work on the children and correct their footwork and grip during the talent hunt.
"This initiative is restricted to only those who have never played the sport. Fifty to 100 children would be called up at each club for a two-day trial and the selected few would take part in the two-day tournament," said Prakash.
"At the end of the tournament we will pick four boys and four girls for further training in Mumbai or even at Bangalore in our academy," said Padukone who later said that a trio of very talented boys from his academy would also play an exhibition match at the CCI.
Apart from CCI, the other clubs/gymkhanas who are part of the initiative are Bombay Gymkhana, Juhu Vile Parle Gymkhana, Khar Gymkhana and National Sports Club of India.
"Johari is very good in training children and was with us at the academy in January-February. He is a very experienced coach in teaching technique and footwork. It’s very important to teach players the right grip and footwork at a young age as later on its very difficult to correct them," said Padukone.
"This is the first initiative of such kind in India and depending on its success it can be replicated in other cities," he added.
Though the initiative is open to non-members of the five club/gymkhanas, members` children would get preference in signing up for the project, said Bombay Gymkhana`s badminton secretary Shirish Nadkarni.