The State’s first professional badminton academy will start functioning in Thiruvananthapuram from next month.

The Oxford Sunrise Shuttle Academy (TOSS) will provide world-class training facility and year-round coaching for emerging players as well as established stars of the State.

The academy is the brain child of Samir Bin Kamal who runs a string of educational institutions in India and abroad. The academy will function from the state-of-the-art complex which was built at a cost of Rs. six crore in the campus of Oxford Senior Secondary School in Manacadu.

The six courts and lighting inside the indoor stadium were built to international standards. A modern gymnasium, dressing rooms, gallery and cafeteria are part of the complex. The complex also has 10 air-conditioned rooms which can accommodate 20 players at a time.

“In my school I have given importance to sports and we have been conducting a district-level tournament at our school for the last five years. I felt that though Kerala had a lot of talent there was no professional set up to nurture it,” said Samir.

“The idea of starting an academy originated four years ago during discussions with badminton officials and I was sitting on it. But six months ago I decided to start an academy and started the work on the complex,” he said.

“At TOSS we are looking for holistic development of a player. We will have fitness trainers, sports medicine experts, nutritionist, dietician and physiotherapist who will work closely with coaches. We will also have the services of a sports psychologist. There will be counselling sessions for both players and their parents,” said Samir, who visited Taufiq Hidayat Arena in Jakarta and spent five days there to see for himself how a professional academy is run.

“The academy will be sponsored by Yonex which has agreed to find a suitable foreign coach for us. Yonex will sponsor all equipment including four Hova courts,” Samir added.

The players will be selected through trials. The academy will also accommodate players nominated by State and district associations. “We will provide educational support to children who need it and TOSS will also support talented players to find sponsors. Our aim is make TOSS a premier badminton coaching centre in the country,” said Samir.

The TOSS academy will be formally inaugurated by Taufiq Hidayat in July.