The 32nd National Badminton Championships get underway tomorrow at the Shaheed Tajuddin Ahmed Indoor Stadium sans Bangladesh Biman.
The national flag career has been a dominant force in the age-old event but will miss the colourful indoor sport for the first time after being associated with it for over 34 years.
The no-show is part of a sagging Biman Bangladesh’s policy of a gradual withdrawal from domestic sport on financial grounds. They did not form the women’s team in the ongoing Table Tennis League, their cricket team had been relegated to the First Division last season while their mediocre chess team only managed to stay at the Premier Division following Biman Bangladesh’s decision not to patronise any sport teams.
“Last year, the board had decided not to sponsor its different sports teams as they can’t bear the expenses. And that is why Biman is not taking part in the national badminton championships this time,” said Biman’s former badminton manager Noor Islam yesterday.
Biman has been taking part in any badminton meets since 1979 and have won a total of 27 singles titles in both men’s and women’s events.
“We are very disappointed with such decision,” said 2010 national champion Mohammad Rois Uddin who played for Biman for the last 10 years.
“Every player dreams to play for Biman, who pays handsomely. Their withdrawal will adversely affect the game,” said Rois who joined Bangladesh Railway this year.
“Biman is still managing its cricket team but they have decided to part ways with badminton. It’s unfortunate. It needs a lot of money to run a cricket team. But one can easily form a badminton team with an amount of money that can buy only a cricketer like Mashrafee (Bin Morataza).”
Ahsan Habib Parash, who won six consecutive men’s singles tiles for Biman, hoped that Biman would return to badminton again for the betterment of the game.
A total of 262 shuttlers including 35 women from six divisions, 54 districts, three educational boards and one organisation are taking part in the meet, sponsored by Internet provider Qubee.
The championships feature five events ?” men’s singles and doubles, women’s singles and doubles and mixed doubles.
Bangladesh Badminton Federation general secretary Jobaidur Rahman Rana, at a pre-event press meet, informed that all rating players including no-rated but former champions Enayetullah Khan are taking part in the meet. He also said that they are offering a cash award of over Taka one lakh for the winners.
-With The Daily Star input