This is the 11th story in our Humans of Shuttle Time series, in which we present the perspectives of those who work on badminton development at the grassroots level. Nikhil Chandra Dhar, Shuttle Time National Coordinator of Bangladesh, recounts his badminton journey.
I grew up in a sporting family. All my elder brothers had significant achievements in local badminton and football. We had our own big playground attached to our house where badminton got priority. My parents encouraged us to play badminton to keep us fit. Most of the local players played badminton at our ground those days. Having watched badminton from when I was three or four, I aspired to be a player myself.
Support Through Coaching
From fun family games, I progressed to state and national level. One early teacher who I remember fondly was Morshed Khan; he used to coach free of charge. I trained under him for 17 days.
Also, my family have had a tradition of supporting people who are in need. So I started training children who were aspiring to become national champions. My father wanted me to get involved with the family gold business but I joined a bank after finishing my MBA. I was briefly with the family business and then took up the challenge of becoming a professional badminton coach. Now badminton provides a living for more than 100 coaches in my country and I feel proud to have been a torchbearer.
What Badminton Means
It was fun in childhood, challenging as a national junior player. Now it is a lifestyle, it is everything. Badminton is one of the safest sports for all ages in the world. It can easily be played indoors and outdoors, for boys and girls.
Contributing to Badminton’s Growth
In my city, there were no professional badminton coaches. After finishing my studies, in 2001 I started visiting schools to invite players to train for free. Sometimes my district association helped me. My players started doing well at the national level. Nine years after I started, I gave up my bank job and eacame a professional coach. I started an academy in Chittagong; it has produced several national champions. I have trained more than 1200 teachers and 200 coaches since 2011. Several of them are full-time coaches.
Experiences with Shuttle Time
I have been conducting the Shuttle Time programme since 2012. I have conducted programmes at over 50 schools. Some schools use Shuttle Time for their PE class.
Lessons from Shuttle Time
Have fun, enjoy all the activities, encourage and motivate children of all ages and abilities, help children have fun every moment, and above all, maintain safety standards.