The University of New Haven’s new Badminton Club has been a fun way for Chargers who love the sport to play competitively – and to share the sport with their fellow Chargers.
December 5, 2023
By Anchal Bhatia ’24 MBA
Left to right: Govardhan Illuru, treasurer; Shirdi Kummarakuntla, president; Rydham Bhanushali, social media manager; Srikiran Boddupalli, secretary; and Sudhanshu Sunke, vice president.
As an avid badminton player, Shirdi Kummarakuntla ’24 M.S. always wanted to continue the glory of this sport as a student at the University of New Haven. This motivation led to the foundation of a new club sport on campus.
“Badminton, as a sport, was not widely present at the University, which was something I wished to change,” says Kummarakuntla, the club’s president. “I, along with the support of my friends who are now part of the e-board of the club, decided to introduce badminton as a club sport at ChargerRec.”
Kummarakuntla thanks his coach Sri Teja Chinnam, director of enrollment systems, who ensures the club is well-trained before every tournament or on-campus practice session.
“Our coach is our best mentor, and our intense training is always on point due to his persistence,” he said. “Our coach’s and team members’ efforts and dedication have led us to where we are now.”
Chinnam’s dedication to the sport is a driving factor behind the success of the Badminton Club, and Kummarakuntla is grateful for his support. He credits Chinnam for maintaining and enhancing the consistency among the participants and members of the club.
‘The first big event’
While building the foundation of the Badminton Club, Kummarakuntla’s goal was to take the University of New Haven to a new level in terms of inter-state tournaments. Spring 2023 was the first semester in which the badminton team traveled to Philadelphia for a two-day tournament in April, followed by another two-day tournament this Fall where they secured the runner-up position.
Sri Teja Chinnam, the team’s coach.
The team has also participated in two open tournaments so far and has been the winner of men’s doubles at the Simsbury Open 2023, held in October. The team is now preparing to participate in the upcoming Eastern Collegiate Conference in the spring and in open tournaments in and around Connecticut.
The team recently attended the Eastern Collegiate Badminton Conference held in Boston, where 14 members participated in the competition.
“There was everything in this journey: the intense pressure, breakthroughs, tough fights, and easy wins,” said Kummarakuntla. “I want to thank everyone on our team for our success.”
Apart from participating in off-campus tournaments with the team, the badminton club is always ready to encourage new joiners from all levels, courses, and majors at the University of New Haven. The club sport recently organized an ‘open for all’ tournament for University of New Haven students, faculty, and alumni, which Kummarakuntla says was a “great success.
“Around 40 players were competing in 60 matches,” he continued. “This was the first big event we hosted on campus, and we were ecstatic to see the response. We held all five formats in the tournament: men’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s singles, women’s doubles, and mixed doubles. After seeing this event’s outcome, we are planning the upcoming on-campus tournament and will be sharing the details very soon.”
‘We laid a good foundation’
The University’s Badminton Club is not only a successful club sport as part of Charger Rec but is a family of its own, believes Kummarakuntla. He is pleased with the results and outcomes and thankful to the e-board, who has been with him since day one of the formation of the club. The current e-board consists of four other members, namely, Sudhanshu Sunke ’24 MBA, vice president of the Badminton Club; Srikiran Boddupalli ’24 M.S., secretary; Govardhan Illuru ’24 M.S., treasurer; and Rydham Bhanushali ’24 MBA, social media manager.
According to Kummarakuntla, a huge part of the team’s success is credited to the e-board, and he sincerely believes in the teamwork displayed by everyone, including building everything from scratch to being consistent for the club and the sport.
“This was the club’s first e-board, and therefore, it was not easy, but it all worked out with mutual efforts,” says Kummarakuntla. “I think we laid a good foundation, and the team’s future is now secured.”
Adding more to the upcoming plans and ambitions for the club, Kummarakuntla shared how he and his e-board, as well as the members, are planning to compete against more colleges and universities. To achieve this, they are raising funds, improvising on their equipment, and are expecting to share some part of the funding with their coach.
Kummarakuntla wholeheartedly thanks ChargerRec and its staff for providing this space to practice, learn, and accomplish the club’s goals. The goal is to continue to build the future of the Badminton Club, to participate in more competitions and tournaments, and to help take this sport and recognition of the University’s club to greater heights.
The Badminton Club encourages beginners to attend their practice sessions and to engage in an opportunity to learn and pursue this sport. They are ready to train new and passionate enthusiasts and would love to help in every possible manner. The club plans to launch special training sessions for badminton sports lovers and is happy to welcome new players to their team.
Anchal Bhatia ’24 MBA is a candidate in the University’s MBA program.
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