Sports padukone badminton

Infosys Foundation chairperson Sudha Murthy with former shuttler Prakash Padukone during the signing of an MoU between Infosys Foundation and the Padukone Badminton Academy, in Bengaluru on Sept. 5. (IANS photo)

The Bengaluru-based Infosys Foundation announced Sept. 5 that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy for a grant of Rs. 16 crore — roughly $3 million — over five years to scout and nurture the best talent from across India.

The grant will also support the Academy’s mission to support talented players to compete and excel in various national and international sporting competitions. “This partnership is aimed at nurturing promising badminton talent in the Academy through an intensive training program with the goal of helping them become future medal contenders at prestigious sporting events such as the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and the Olympics,” said the Infosys Foundation in a press statement.

The new initiative — known as the PPBA Champions Nurturing Program — will begin in October and be completed over a period of five years, with a target of about 65 junior athletes expected to receive training every year.

The grant is designed to help PPBA groom its trainees by:

  • Providing full-time world class coaching and related support facilities at the Academy in Bengaluru
  • Offering players a comprehensive, state-of-the-art badminton infrastructure including a sports science center, gym, swimming pool among other facilities
  • Supporting the boarding, lodging and travel needs for players and coaches
  • Facilitating global training opportunities for selected high potential talent
  • Supporting a pan-India talent scouting program to unearth promising new talent for the future.

Speaking on the occasion of the MoU signing, Sudha Murty, Infosys Foundation chairperson, said: “As a country we love sports, but when it comes to making a career in sports, lack of a comprehensive support system often discourages some of the finest athletes to pursue their passion.”

“To compete successfully at international level, Indian athletes deserve good infrastructure and training support which must be comparable to the best in the world,” she said.

“I do hope that our support through the Infosys Foundation, the PPBA Champions Nurturing Program will address the existing gaps and help not just a few, but an entire generation of badminton players make the country proud through their achievements,” said Murthy.

Prakash Padukone, founder of the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy, said at the signing: “PPBA has been instrumental in producing world class badminton talent for nearly 25 years. As we get ready to celebrate our silver jubilee year, we are delighted to announce this long term partnership with Infosys Foundation that shares our vision of nurturing Indian sports talent.”

“The grant will provide impetus in equipping our athletes with world class training and guidance, and help them stand out in the sporting fraternity globally,” he said.

Vimal Kumar, co-founder and chief coach of PPBA, who was recently awarded the Dronacharya Award by the Government of India for excellence in coaching, said: “Over the last three decades as a player and coach, I have seen a very impactful shift in the approach towards badminton as a sport and career choice in India.”

“Today, at PPBA we have athletes from diverse backgrounds and age groups who are steadfastly focused on excelling in this game, and it gives me immense joy when I see our past and present athletes excel in the national and international arena. This support from Infosys Foundation will be significant in taking our training program to the next level,” he said.

The Infosys Foundation is the charitable arm of the multinational corporation. It supports programs in the areas of education, rural development, healthcare, arts and culture, and destitute care, with a mission of working in remote regions of several states in India.

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