Shuttlecocks to be available by second week of March

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Patiala, Feb 26 (UNI) Shuttlecocks will be made available after the second week of March and much before the start of Indian Grand Pix at Hyderabad in April, TPS Puri, the Vice president of Badminton Assoaciation of India said today.

Talking to UNI over phone, he said the bird flu had hit even he national camps and we will import shuttlecocks at our own as per the new policy of Sports Ministry.

National sports federations and associations were in quandary after the issuance of new guidelines which made it clear that the respective federations have to make all the arrangements be it shuttlecocks, pellets or bows and arrows when they organise the national training camps for badminton, tifle and archery etc.

The Sports Authority of India has told federations and associations to organise their national camps at their own and then claim reimbursements on expenses incurred.

India has imported 10,000 dozen shuttlecocks from Yonex, Japan, which were manufactured in China.

The Animal Husbandry has withheld the mandatory sanitary import permit as it was reluctant issuing it for an bird affected country like China.

Shuttles are made of goose feathers and China and Chinese Taipei have the best quality. With all international tournaments played with these shuttles only, the Badminton Association of India had no choice but to call off the camp.

The Badminton Association of India (BAI) has already called off two preparatory national camps in Goa and Chandigarh for India's top shuttlers.

Indian shuttles were dismissed as a substitute due to their inferior quality and insufficient quantity available at such short notice. Top shuttles are made with goose feathers, most of them from China and Taiwan.

Puri says ''Abandoning the national squad's training camp ahead of the Thomas and Uber Cup qualifiers is a huge setback.'' He said that the Hyderabad Grand Prix, to be held in April, will be the last qualification tournament for the Olympics. International Badminton Federation (IBF) has done a great favour to India by including it in the Olympic qualification list, he added.

Upbeat by the performance of Anand Pawar at Vienna, Puri said, ''We hope to qualify for Beijing Olympics. Our boy Anand Pawar has lifted the Austrian Open men's singles crown, defeating Ukrainian veteran Vladislav Druzchenko in straight sets in Vienna yesterday.'' UNI XC JN RKM KN1636

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