Bird feces, unhygienic conditions: Problems players encountered during badminton tournaments in India
Former World No.1 Nozomi Okuhara was among those who opened up on the ordeals.
India showcased its badminton capability to the world by successfully hosting four international tournaments within two months. During this period, the nation hosted three BWF World Tour 2023 events and one BWF World Tour 2024 event:
- Syed Modi International 2023 (November 28 to December 3)
- Guwahati Masters 2023 (December 5 to 10)
- Odisha Masters 2023 (December 12 to December 17)
- India Open 2024 (January 16 to January 21, 2024)
The tournaments were a success as they generated huge crowd support and the audience stayed till late at night, especially during the India Open 2024, to support not only the Indian but also international athletes. Although India fared well as the host country, the journey too had its share of challenges.
We will now look at these controversies that surrounded Indian badminton as the nation hosted four BWF World Tour events in two months.
Bird feces incident in badminton tournament
At the Syed Modi International 2023, a lot of athletes complained about the poor conditions of the stadium. Singaporean badminton player Jessica Tan and Danish shuttler Frederik Søgaard uploaded stories about birds flying and their feces all over the playing arena on their Instagram stories. In addition, Tan also mentioned difficulty while playing due to the presence of dust.
The matter became a topic of discussion among fans and sports enthusiasts on social media as they appealed to the Badminton Association of India (BAI) and the Uttar Pradesh Badminton Association (UPBA) to sort out the issues.
The situation improved later, but it was a moment of embarrassment for India, its sports ministry, and the UP government. Given the high-profile nature of the event, the implementation of proper measures before the beginning of the tournament could have certainly avoided a situation like this.
Guwahati Masters 2023
This was another incident that involved Singaporean shuttler Tan. According to the Strait Times, a Singapore-based media house, Tan and her husband Terry Hee faced challenging conditions on their way to the podium. Reportedly, they encountered several problems in the hotel where they stayed in Guwahati, such as:
- Power Outrages
- Dirty Water
- Pest Attacks
The athletes had to boil water for bathing purposes as the hotel had non-functional water heaters. Moreover, at the Sarusajai Sports Complex, they had to use electric mosquito swatters and protect their meals from flies. They revealed the inconveniences they faced on their social media handle.
Similarly, Malaysia’s Soong Joo Ven also encountered a similar situation where muddy water was coming from a wash basin. He shared a video of this on his Twitter account stating, “Imagine showering and brushing your teeth with this water here in India!!!”
However, in an interview with India Today NE, the BAI’s president stated, “The hotels were booked by the players themselves and the badminton association had no role in it.”
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Odisha Masters 2023
Japanese shuttler Nozomi Okuhara (former World no. 1) had to go through a travel nightmare before she clinched the women’s singles title at the Odisha Masters 2023. Upon reaching her designated hotel in Cuttack, Odisha, she was shocked to know that there were no rooms booked under her name, and the stay was full for the day.
After waiting for a few hours at the hotel, she took an Uber ride to another hotel where she booked a room after the fiasco, although the booking wasn’t confirmed then. However, Okuhara then managed to reach out to the hotel staff with the help of PV Sindhu and another BAI official and finally got a stay.
Earlier, she had faced troubles after landing at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi where a stranger reportedly tried to load her luggage onto a trolley without her approval and got scammed as a private taxi driver charged a significantly higher amount than the price decided.
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