Bengaluru: The Infosys Foundation and the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding to groom young players in tier-2 and tier-3 cities from across the country.
The agreement was signed by Prakash Padukone, who heads the sports academy and Sudha Murthy, who leads the philanthropic wing of Infosys at the Foundation office in the city.
According to the agreement, the Infosys Foundation will provide a fund of Rs 16 crore, which will be spent for the next five years.
"The total project cost is Rs 16 crore, spread over five years. It is left to them, whom they choose, how they choose and how they train but ultimately they will do their job to bring the talents out from our country," Murthy told reporters.
Speaking on the occasion, Padukone said the centre would be in Bengaluru where those in the age group of nine and 10 would be groomed.
"We always say catch them young but we never do it. It remains on paper. So we made a conscious attempt to pick up a talent at a very young age and give them the right opportunities," said the former All-England championship winner.
Padukone said his academy is presently training about 45 players, who come from tier-2 and tier-3 cities.
The plan is to increase the number to 65, he added.
He explained there was a conducive atmosphere in the country for badminton after the remarkable achievements of P V Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and Srikanth Kidambi.
The former India star said the academy would approach the sports ministry as well as the Sports Authority of India to provide support to turn Bengaluru into a badminton centre.
"We want some foreign coaches to train our coaches as well as the players. Only the government can do it better," Padukone, who is also the father of Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone, said.