GANGTOK: Sukanta Das, the general secretary of Badminton Association of Sikkim (BAS) and executive member of the Badminton Association of India (BAI), has been appointed the team manager of the Indian Badminton team.

The Indian team is participating in the TotalEnergies BWF World Badminton Championships to be held at Palacio de los Deportes in Huelva, Spain, from the December 12-19, 2021.

Das was accorded the nomination by Assam Chief Minister and BAI President Himanta Biswa Sarma on November 15.

In the past, Das has led the Indian Badminton team as manager during the South Asian Games, Korean Open, Japan Open, and the BWF Junior World Championship held at Myanmar.

Sukanta’s appointment as Team India manager for the upcoming World Badminton Championships is a matter of great pride for Sikkim, the Badminton Association of Sikkim said.

“India is one of the super powers in badminton and a strong contender during the BWF World Badminton Championships. We hope and pray that with the good wishes of all Sikkimese and the blessings of our guardian deities, Sukanta Das turns out to be the lucky talisman for Team India once again and they return victorious,” Tshering Sherpa, Publicity Secretary of the Badminton Association of Sikkim, told EastMojo.

The Badminton Association of Sikkim has extended their best wishes to Sukanta Das and Team India, Sherpa added.

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Sukanta, born in Mining, Rangpo in East Sikkim, has been associated with badminton as a player, member, coach and team manager over the years since 1999.

Das became member of the Badminton Association of Sikkim in 1999 and was the State Doubles Badminton Champion in the year 2010.

“I had the privilege to win the All Hills Badminton Championship organized by the Darjeeling Gymkhana Club 2012 and Team Championship 2015. I got the opportunity to represent Sikkim as a player and also as a manager in many zonal and national-level championships,” Das told EastMojo.

In 2013, Sikkim recommended Sukanta Das to appear in the National Umpiring Exam conducted by the Badminton Association of India at Cuttack, Orissa.

“By sheer hard work, I was able to come out as a topper and make my state proud, thus enabling me to become a National Umpire, Grade II,” he said.

In his first assignment after becoming a national umpire, the Badminton Association of India nominated Das as one of the technical officials from India for the prestigious Thomas & Uber Cup World Badminton Championship 2014, in New Delhi.

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The BAI then sent Sukanta as Team India’s manager for the Korea and Japan Badminton World Super Series in 2017, when India won a Gold in Korea. In 2017, Sukanta was elected as the youngest executive member of BAI for 4 years. The following year, he was elected as the core member of technical officials committee of BAI.

Here’s what Sukanta Das has to say about all things Badminton and Sikkim:

Badminton as household game of Sikkim and India

It’s the popularity the badminton players have brought in India and the fact that it can be played outside and inside in a hall. Players like PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and Srikanth got laurels for the country and made it a household game by showing that we can do it on an international level.

How can Sikkim produce more players of quality

We need more coaches, more indoor facilities and the support of parents. The association and government are doing their part but the support of parents and the commitment of players needs to be a lot more. We have the zeal and power to make good national players.

Big responsibility as Team India manager

It’s a great honour for me to lead the Indian team and my country. Though I have already led the team in many international tournaments, the upcoming world championship is my 1st such assignment, and I hope my team will bring laurels to the country. As team manger, I hope to share my knowledge, as well as remain flexible and tolerant with the team. I hope to bond well with the players to accomplish the mission.

Superstars and the badminton locker room in India

We all know the difficulties that came with COVID, as players had to sit at home and then go to play the world championship. It’s tough for them too. As things are opening up slowly, I hope they will adjust to the new protocols quickly and give their best. My role will be to motivate them and keep their spirits high, and bring home the World Championship gold medal.

Target for self

The role as team manger is for this tournament and it will be for 15 days. I want my team to get gold in all events. The team is currently playing in Bali, Indonesia, before going to the World Championship.

How Sikkim could benefit from the experience

My experience will help us set training module for players. By engaging with world-class players, you learn a lot about their diet and daily routines. And the conduct of a tournament structure and the coaching camps will help us tap raw talents from every nook and corner of Sikkim. We want our Sikkim players to play in Indian uniform in future.

Future of badminton in Sikkim

The future of Sikkim is very bright as now we have badminton courts in all the districts, and the District Badminton Associations are very active in promoting badminton at the grassroots level by conducting tournaments. With the support of the government and sports department, we are on a mission to churn out national-level badminton players from Sikkim soon.

Also read: Sikkim hosts 1st high-altitude marathon, mountain biking championship

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