HomeSportsDronacharya Awardee Gaurav Khanna Launches India's First Para-Badminton Academy

Dronacharya Awardee Gaurav Khanna Launches India’s First Para-Badminton Academy

Dronacharya Awardee and Head National Coach of the Indian Para-badminton team, Gaurav Khanna, formally announced his association with Ageas Federal Life Insurance to launch the country’s first Para-Badminton Academy on Sunday.

The state-of-the-art, high-performance centre with advanced equipment and facilities in Lucknow aims to improve India’s medal chances at the 2024 Paralympics.

Gaurav Khanna, a Dronacharya Awardee, also unveiled the Ageas Federal ‘Quest for Fearless Shuttlers’ programme at the closed-door launch ceremony to spot and nurture new talent for the 2028 and 2032 Paralympics.

The high-performance centre consists of four courts, two with BWF-approved Synthetic Mats for Standing Athletes and two Wooden Courts for Wheelchair Athletes. In addition to all modern facilities, including a fully-equipped gym, provisions for ice baths, steam baths, sauna baths and jacuzzi hydrotherapy, it also has disabled-friendly rooms for athletes to stay.

“India has produced several para champions, but they could never train in a professional setup. Since 2015, I have been doing whatever I can at makeshift rental venues,” Gaurav Khanna lamented. “Thanks to Ageas Federal Life Insurance, we have managed to create a world-class facility for Para-badminton players. They can not only train here now but also stay for long durations and focus entirely on their game.”

Gaurav Khanna, Head National Coach of the Indian Para-badminton team, with top para-shuttlers – Manoj Sarkar, Pramod Bhagat, Abu Hubaida, Krishna Nagar, Prem Kumar Ale and Palak Kohli

The players will have access to qualified coaches, physios, physical trainers, nutritionists and other support staff under one roof.

“Apart from backing several marathons, we have supported badminton at the grassroots level in a big way,” Karthik Raman, Chief Marketing Officer, Ageas Federal Life Insurance, said. “Para-badminton has done our nation proud at the Tokyo Paralympics. It is our honour and privilege to join hands with Gaurav Khanna for the launch of the Academy to help this sport achieve greater heights in the country and hopefully win more laurels at the upcoming Paris 2024 games. Our ‘Quest For Fearless Shuttlers initiative’ is our humble effort towards this goal,” he added.

Top para-shuttlers and medal hopefuls at Paris Paralympics 2024, Pramod Bhagat, Manoj Sarkar, Nitesh Kumar, Krishna Nagar, Nithya Sri and Palak Kohli, along with upcoming para-shuttlers, attended the closed-door launch ceremony due to the new COVID-19 restrictions.

At Tokyo Paralympics, Pramod Bhagat and Krishna Nagar had won gold in singles while Suhas Yathiraj and Manoj Sarkar contributed with silver and bronze to make it a total haul of four medals. Gaurav Khanna revealed that all these players, adding up to 50, will be training at the Academy henceforth.

“I am also planning to initiate a Coaches Excellence Programme as I want other coaches to understand the intricacies of Para-badminton. I am preparing the draft syllabus and aim to train several coaches in the country so that we become a major force in the sport,” he explained.

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