Kerala shuttler suspended after pointing out discrepancy in state rewards

With communal tension flying high over Sabrimala, Kerala has not exactly been the bastion of positive news lately. Now, there is an appalling incident which took place in the state’s sporting ecosystem which has only made matters worse. A badminton player was suspended by the state authority after a social media post by him that pointed out how much the difference in prize money was between Kerala and other states, reported by The Times of India.

A day after winning the Men’s Doubles title at the Kerala Senior Inter-District and State Championships back in September, shuttler NG Balasubramannian took to voicing his frustrations on his Facebook page. The main point of his concern was that winning the tournament had elicited a total prize money of zero from the state. He compared this provision to that of Karnataka where a state doubles champion is entitled to Rs 14,000/- as cash incentive by the state body. It was this Facebook post that irked the organisers at Kerala State Badminton Shuttle Association (KBSA).  They handed NG Balasubramannian a suspension of two years thus effectively bringing a virtual end to his career as an aspiring badminton player.

A notice had been sent to Balasubramannian asking him to explain the motive behind the post which the organisers felt was defamatory to the parent body. But, reportedly, the explanation sent by the shuttler was not satisfactory enough to stop his suspension. His only motive had been to point out the glaring discrepancy in the way State and District Champions are treated by the Kerala Government as opposed to other states.

A showcause notice regarding the social media post was sent to Balasubramannian by KBSA on October 16. After sending back his explanation sent last Friday, the KBSA decided on a tougher course of action. In a statement to him, KBSA wrote, “You are placed under suspension from participating in all activities of badminton for a period of two years from 4-11-2018 to 3-11-2020. During this period, you are debarred from participating in all registered level tournaments by the district, state or national units.”

Whether the Badminton Association of India intervenes in the issue remains to be seen.