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Indian Great Padukone Frustrated by BAI Inaction Amid Shuttlecock-Bird Flu Crisis

It is often easy to forget the inextricable link between badminton and birds. Birds provide the feathers for shuttlecocks. Quite simply, badminton needs birds more than the birds need badminton.

And if there is a bird flu outbreak, then the sport is in trouble. This is exactly what is happening in India, where a bout of bird flu, a disease that can be fatal for humans when the virus makes a rare jump from animals, has caused havoc with badminton.

The disease has sparked a shuttlecock crisis that forced a camp for national players to be called off in Goa, although the Badminton Association of India (BAI) was severely criticised for its action.

The major supplier of shuttlecocks global brand Yonex, which admit to being short of stock because of bird flu though not complete dry.

Prakash Padukone, the Indian badminton legend who once won the All England title, was quoted in NDTV.com as saying that the BAI had a lot of time to address the issue, given the crisis had been going on for two months.

"This problem has been there for two months, we had to cut down the number of matches in the domestic circuit due to this. Shuttlecocks are available and you just need 150-200 boxes, which could have been acquired. It just needs co-ordination between Badminton Association of India and Sports Authority of India," said Padukone, who is also a former national coach.

Many observers feel that the BAI could have easily bought shuttlecocks for higher than the usual market price to ensure its national camp could take place.

All national associations feel it is only right to purchase Yonex brands, because that is the only kind of shuttles used in international tournaments.

But while the company has been suffering, it was already in possession of significant stock before the bird flu crisis prompted the Indian government to suspend the manufacture of shuttle cocks.

Vikran Dhar, Country Manager for Yonex told the website: "Whatever supply there is, that is alright because it hasn't been hit by the ban, but obviously the recent product has been hit by the ban. Only a few centres like in South India and West India will be still using those shuttles."

Padukone and others feel the shuttlecock problem is not as bad as the BAI make it out to be, and the ultimate losers will be Indian players, who look forward to forthcoming Thomas and Uber Cup tournaments without adequate training.












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