Bengaluru Bengaluru-based Sanjeeth S, an accomplished badminton player who had represented India at the international level and currently an inspirational coach, has drawn an ambitious plan to scout raw talent from Tier 2 and Tier 3 centers, coach them and become a feeder pipeline for emerging champions from the country.
Commenting on his plans, Sanjeeth, said, “Indian Badminton has come of age and the sport has become popular in urban centers, and following this many coaching centers have come up in metros. However, in non-metros, there is a paucity of organized coaching centers manned by certified coaches. It is this void, which I intend to fulfill and at the same time leverage the opportunity to scout raw talent in these centers.”
Further, he said, many coaching centers in non-metros have shown their willingness to partner with him. While they have created the infrastructure, they are finding it difficult to get certified coaches in shaping the budding talent, he pointed out. Against this backdrop, he opined he could play a catalytic role in meeting the unmet demand and the help emerging talent to get trained closer to their home.
Hailing from a small town Erode in Tamilnadu, Sanjeeth used to play in the streets owing to lack of proper courts. His natural talent, flair for the game, competitive spirit, and urge to win against all odds, even in a game on the street, soon became the talk of the town. It was pure happenstance that an indoor badminton court was constructed at the same time and he got an opportunity to hone his skills for the next few years there, before moving to Bengaluru looking for better infrastructure, coaches, and sparring partners. Now his vision is to make all this available in non-metros and expect it to provide a big momentum in bringing more talent to the center stage.
A certified coach, Sanjeeth, has had coaching stints as an Indian Junior Badminton team coach and Karnataka State Team coach. It may be noted that Sanjeeth in his Badminton playing days had represented India in the prestigious All England Championship in 2015 and 2016 and carved a name for himself by winning the bronze medal in the Bahrain International Challenge in 2015. He reached a career-high of 94 in the world rankings.
It may be noted that wards of Sanjeeth, in the last few years, have won multiple tournaments at the city, state, and national level including gold medals in All India ranking tournaments and podium finishes in Sub-Junior National Championship. A few went on to represent India e.g. in the Asian Badminton Championship, Dubai Junior International Series, and Cyprus Junior International.
Unsung heroes like Sanjeeth are the lifeblood of badminton in India. They feed the pipeline, and though not recognized or rewarded they continue to inspire the next generation of players and coaches and pursue their love for the game.