The Infosys Foundation and the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy have signed a memorandum of understanding to groom young players in tier-2 and tier-3 cities from across the country.
The agreement was signed by Prakash Padukone, who heads the sports academy and Sudha Murthy, who leads the philanthropic wing of Infosys at the Foundation office in Bengaluru.
According to the agreement, the Infosys Foundation will provide a fund of ₹16 crore, which will be spent for the next five years.
“The total project cost is ₹16 crore, spread over five years. It is left to them, whom they choose, how they choose and how they train but ultimately they will do their job to bring the talents out from our country,” Murthy said.
Speaking on the occasion, Padukone said the centre in Bengaluru will groom talent in the nine and ten year age group.
“We always say catch them young but we never do it. It remains on paper. So we made a conscious attempt to pick up a talent at a very young age and give them the right opportunities,” said the former All-England championship winner.
Padukone said his academy is presently training about 45 players, who come from tier-2 and tier-3 cities. The plan is to increase the number to 65, he added.
There was a conducive atmosphere in the country for badminton after the remarkable achievements of P V Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and Srikanth Kidambi, said Padukone and added
the academy would approach the sports ministry as well as the Sports Authority of India to provide support to turn Bengaluru into a badminton centre.
“We want some foreign coaches to train our coaches as well as the players. Only the government can do it better,” said Padukone.