Ahmedabad, Guwahati join Premier Badminton League bandwagon

first_img(Eds: Adding additional quotes and fresh inputs) Chennai, Aug 16 (PTI) Two new teams — Ahmedabad Smash Masters and Guwahati Eastern Warriors, will be part of the third Premier Badminton League (PBL) scheduled to be held from December 22 to January 14 next year. The league, which is organised annually by Badminton Association of India (BAI) in association with Sportzlive, will be an eight-team affair from the upcoming season. The Ahmedabad team is owned by Padmanabh Sports Pvt. Ltd, a subsidiary of Padmanabh Industries Ltd. The upcoming season will be played in four cities in a rolling format with the final being hosted by Chennai. “As I welcome Ahmedabad and Guwahati on board PBL Season 3, it is a great thing for the league and the sport in the country,” said BAI President Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma. “I would like to thank the new owners and welcome them into the BAI family. I would also like to congratulate SportzLive and believe that together we can take to badminton to unprecedented heights.” The third edition of PBL will also see the 11-point format make way for 15 point format and there will be single match a day to drive more footfalls at the stadium and viewership on TV. “This Season we have two additional teams and a longer window and we are confident that Badminton fans in Chennai will be up for an exciting time. We will also be hosting the Final in Chennai and are confident that the way the sport has seen response PBL Season 3 will only grow bigger and better,” said Atul Pande, Executive Director of SportzLive. The winning team would be richer by Rs three crore and the runner-up would receive Rs 1.5 crore. The league, which offers a prize purse of Rs 6 Crore was a six team competition last year with Delhi Acers (Delhi), Mumbai Rockets (Mumbai), Awadhe Warriors (Lucknow), Hyderabad Hunters (Hyderabad), Chennai Smashers (Chennai) and Bengaluru Blasters (Bengaluru) vying for the top honours. Chennai led by Olympic silver medalist PV Sindhu clinched the title in the second season in January. Former All-England champion and noted coach P Gopichand, who is a member of PBLs governing council, said it was good to see strong players emerge from India. “I am excited to see the game grow in the country. The number of entries in various tournaments has surged, which is an indication of its popularity,” he said. He also said the Indians would do well in the forthcoming World Championships in London. “Previously we have managed to win one medal at best. This is probably the strongest squad. The men have been doing well in recent times and the four Indian players in the fray are good and capable of beating the best. Nobody is a clear favourite these days and we can expect a strong performance from our players,” he said. On the men shuttlers doing well in the world level tournaments, he said, “In general, a player maturing is a 10- year process. It was good that Saina (Nehwal) came up first, then P V Sindhu came long. It takes time for players to mature and 23-24 is considered the golden age. “It is good all of them are in the age. It is good to see that they are winning. That has made the men players known faces too (referring to the likes of K Srikanth, H Prannoy and the others winning titles).” Chennai team owner Vijay Prabhakaran, son of actor- politician Vijayakanth, said he was hopeful of the city hosting the PBL matches this time around. “It is our wish to see that Chennai hosts PBL games this time. We want the fans to see our players in action and cheer for them,” he said. Organisers said the city would get to play host to the semifinals and final this time. “We are hopeful that all the necessary clearances will come. The plan is have the matches in Chennai during Pongal festival (from January 12 to 14, 2018),” they said. PTI SS ATK KHS PDS PDSadvertisementlast_img read more

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