Subhankar Dey, Ajay Jayaram raise funds for European sojourn | Badminton News – Times of India

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BENGALURU: The Denmark Open badminton tournament has set Subhankar Dey and Ajay Jayaram back a bit financially. Raising funds to travel and play in Odense has been an arduous task but both shuttlers see the bright side of things – they are back challenging some of the world’s best in the World Tour Super 750 tournament from October 13.
“I am happy to be playing the game at the highest level after more than six months,” Dey, 27, told TOI. “This trip will cost me around Rs 3 lakh. But to me, paying for my travel, stay and food during tournaments is nothing new. I have been doing it for many years. The only difference is that this year my income has been hit by the pandemic.”
Jayaram, who is ranked 61st in the world, too was happy to be back on court. “I do have something like a badminton fund, which includes the prize money I have won over the years, my salary and sponsorship money. I have been funding my tours for the last couple of years ever since my rankings fell following an injury layoff. Challenging times, but I am keen to be back in action.”
Players raising funds and doing their math is nothing new in tennis or golf. But a quasi-professional sport like badminton thrives on an imbalance where top players get all the funding and facilities from the government while shuttlers such as Dey and Jayaram are left to fend for themselves until they improve their rankings.
Both Dey and Jayaram will also figure in the SaarLorLux Super 100 tournament in Saarbrucken, Germany, from October 27 and are mentally prepared for a month-long stay in Europe. Dey, who turned out as a professional in the Danish League for four years until 2019, is already in touch with a few clubs, exploring the possibility of playing a few matches this season.
“Though the season has begun in Denmark, I might get to play two matches for one of the teams after the SaarLorLux Open. I am in touch with a few clubs and the chances of playing for the rest of the season too are bright. I am also looking at a few Danish league matches during the week between the Denmark Open and SaarLorLux. I could do with some good match practice and extra money,” Dey said.
Born in Kolkata, Dey made Maharashtra his home before spending two years in Bengaluru, training under veteran Tom John between 2013-15. Then came the stints with the two Danish clubs, Ikast FS badminton club in 2015 and Greve Strands BK between 2016-19. He has been training for the past three weeks at the KBA academy with Anup Sridhar, what with his own centre, Subhankar Dey Badminton Academy in Mumbai, shut amid the pandemic.
Compared to the past when Dey had his income streams organised, the Covid-stricken 2020 hasn’t been easy. An employee of Railways, Dey hasn’t been paid for the past seven months owing to a technicality. There is no income from his Mumbai academy and his Danish league dreams were dashed by the pandemic.
“In the past four years, I spent all I earned from the Danish league to take part in tournaments. I played 17 tournaments a year, relying on my own resources,” said Dey, who won the SaarLorLux title in 2018, beating Lin Dan in the final.
“The pandemic has caused big problems for us this year, but then I cannot wait until it goes. I have to make use of every tournament opportunity I get to maintain my ranking or improve it. I am ranked 46th now and cannot allow it to fall further as I won’t have any bargaining power while negotiating with sponsors. My aim is to reach the top-20 so that I have something to show to attract sponsors.”
Jayaram, who joined the Anup Sridhar academy here last year, figures that the week spent in Denmark would cost him between Rs 1.5-2 lakh. “I had a good run earlier this year and was confident of reaching the top-30 when the pandemic struck. There is nothing I could do after that,” he said.
Having said that, Jayaram, 33, too has plans to streamline his income and matchplay routine further with a stint in the French league. “The season has already begun in France. I may join my team Chambly Oise later this year, maybe after the two tournaments in Europe,” he said.



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