Shuttle-stop at the Mega Mall
By Aditi R | Published: 29th May 2014 10:24 AM |
CHENNAI: If you’re planning to visit the Forum Vijaya mall, don’t be surprised to see rackets swinging at the ‘birdies’, as the Tamil Nadu Badminton League (TNBL) has kicked off there. “We want to take the sport to people instead of them going to the stadium. Here, people can participate and simply not sit back and watch,” said Kishan, CEO of TNBL.
There are four teams competing in the tournament — Erode Eagles, Chennai Singhams, Jhaver Smashers and Skillangels. Each of these teams has nine players from all around the world ranked below 150. Despite facing monetary problems with availing sponsorship, organisers have managed to gather support from public and a few celebrities. “Shalini Ajith has been a great support to us even though she doesn’t play now. She has introduced us to many people and helped us get sponsors,” said Kishan.
While the third edition is being held in Forum Vijaya mall, the first was held in Express Avenue. With players like Bjorn Seguin (US No 2), Sayali Gokhale (India No 2), and a 15-year-old Keerthana, the league exhibits quite a variety of talent.
The event drew a fair amount of audience. People visiting the mall flocked to the sidelines. “This is a great initiative. Earlier I did not have much knowledge about badminton as I’ve seldom played it but now, taking a que from the enthusiasm shown by the players, I look forward to follow and play the sport,” said a visitor.
“Generally people come to shops and hang around in malls, but now, this form of sport is also on view. Badminton is not a popular sport in India, but we now get to learn more about it. Such initiatives should be taken in future also, as it draws the young and old alike,” said Gautam, a visitor to the mall.
Ashok Bajaj, treasurer of the Badminton Association of India, who was present, said, “We will be taking a team from Chennai to the Indian Badminton League next year. We’re thinking of naming it either Chennai Express or Super Chennai Express. We only hope for this sport to grow and develop.”