Badminton World Federation of Badminton sports body Badminton World Federation released the latest ranking of players in July this year, for the first time in history, the name of a Pakistani player, Eshwar Shahzad, was also included.
Eshwar has been Pakistan’s number one badminton player for the past four years and also the national champion for the last three years.
In a meeting with the BBC, Ishwar Shahzad said that badminton is the most popular sport in the world after football and that is why competition in this sport is so intense.
“It is an honor for any player to play a contested event under the Badminton World Federation, and if anyone reaches the quarter-finals of these events, it is considered a great success.
“Similarly, if a player manages to make it to the Top 150 in the World Rankings, he or she will be considered one of the best badminton players.”
The list of achievements of Enzo Prince has been long in the national and international badminton circuits.
She won gold and doubles bronze in the singles of Pakistan International Badminton Tournament 2017, while in January 2017 she was the winner of the National Badminton Championship singles and took the second position in the women’s doubles competition.
Eshwar has also represented Pakistan at the Asian Games 2014 in South Korea, after which he won the women’s singles competition in the All Pakistan Ranking Badminton Tournament held in 2015 and 2016 while taking the second position at the National Badminton Championship 2015.
He secured the second position at Pakistan International 2016 while being the winner of the tournament held in 2017.
The father’s dream was fulfilled by his daughter
On the question that sports are numerous but why they thought of playing badminton, he said that the atmosphere of the house was a major factor in attracting the game.
‘My dad played badminton until junior level and he wanted his daughters to play the game. When Papa used to practice in my childhood, I also saw and imitated him. Then I started playing badminton in the street like other kids. ‘
At the age of 13, Ishwar says he participated in the Junior National U-19 Championship for the first time and was the winner.
‘At that time my parents realized my potential. They felt that if provided with the right facilities, I could achieve success in national and international competitions and make my place in badminton. ‘
‘My dad is my coach’
Anwar Shahzad says that the parents of their successes are years of hard work.
Papa has been practicing me every morning since the beginning. In the beginning, they used to select international tournaments for me. They still bear the cost of travel and accommodation as well as the cost of travel visas to travel abroad. ‘
After each contest, his father sits down and watches the match video and identifies the flaws and gives tips on how to overcome them, Eshwar said.
Being a girl is not easy
It was not difficult for them to come to the sport because of the support and support of the family, but for the other girls, the situation is quite different, Ishwar said.
‘Most parents think that sports are a waste of time and that it is not possible to get decent employment.
‘Parents’ view is that girls should get married so they should just focus on home. That is why people do not send their daughters to sports and only the girls whose parents support them in this field are successful. ‘
Shahzad says that the biggest hurdle in promoting badminton in Pakistan is not the badminton academies in the country.
“My dad is a badminton player himself and he gives me training but it is very difficult for other players to find coaches because there are very few badminton coaches in Pakistan.
“The players here have to find their own coaches and get permission to use the badminton courts by paying fees in private clubs. There is no system that tells players how to train them and how to set up a day-long schedule.
‘I have to prepare for my own training schedule. If there are academies, it will be very convenient for the players.
Asked why youth and children are playing badminton in the streets of every small metropolitan city, but why is it still a popular sport in Pakistan, Eshwar said there was a lack of awareness about badminton.
She wants the media to watch badminton national contests live on TV because people will get to know about the game and they will know about the national players.
“When my world ranking improved and I was mentioned in the media, people’s interest in the sport increased automatically. Now the young boys and girls contact me that they want to play the game. ‘
Ishwar also said that badminton is an expensive sport and that spending it is not enough for everyone.
‘A shuttle costs Rs. 150 to Rs. 200 and a training session uses at least three to four shuttles, thus the daily cost of a shuttle is Rs. 500 to Rs. Besides, a good quality racket comes in for about forty to fifty thousand rupees.
“This is not the same as a badminton court and coach fees players have to pay out of their own pocket, so badminton is not a cheap game.”
He said that the government was not providing proper funds to the badminton federation, which enabled the players to participate in very few international competitions.
Desire to play the Olympics
Now, the eyes of Ezra Prince are on the Olympics. She points out that after her national success, her goal now is to make a name for the international badminton circuit.
“I intend to participate in as many international competitions as possible before the Tokyo Olympics so that I can improve my world ranking. So if I can make it to the top 70, I will be able to attend the Olympics in Japan in 2020. ‘
Education along with the game is very important
Eshwar Shahzad is a graduate of Karachi Institute of Business Administration and says that players should get higher education along with sports.
He says his educational institutions supported his badminton career.
“The school and the university knew that I was a national level player, so if there were competitions during the exams, they would take my re-examination. Teachers also often taught me after classes.
“When I joined the IBA, they also supported me and did not allow my education to be disconnected despite the absences.”