League in pipeline to push national shuttlers: BAI chief
Ever since the Premier Badminton League (PBL) came to close this year, the Badminton Association of India, that was able to tap a viewership of 40 million across the world throughout the tournament, is planning to come up with two new events by the end of this year.
NEW DELHI: Ever since the Premier Badminton League (PBL) came to close this year, the Badminton Association of India, that was able to tap a viewership of 40 million across the world throughout the tournament, is planning to come up with two new events by the end of this year.
The BAI is planning to start a domestic badminton league, on the same lines as the PBL, that will just target the Indian players and have second tier cities as the franchises.
The aim behind this league is to provide a competitive environment to all the fringe players in the country. Also, this tournament will help spread the game to smaller cities in the country.
“We are about to come up with a tournament that will focus on our Indian players only. We have talented players who don’t get enough chances in international tournaments, so it will be a great opportunity for them to get match practice.
We will have second tier cities as franchises and have started getting offers from Jaipur, Nagpur and Ahmedabad. This will really spread the game to smaller centres in the country as well,” Akhilesh Das Gupta, BAI president, told Express.
While it is mandatory for the players to appear in the Nationals to be able to play for India, it is not binding on the senior shuttlers to be a part of this tournament. But the BAI head promises that the seniors will be offered lucrative deals so that they are a part of this event.
“The senior players have a packed schedule. So it will not be fair on them if we make their participation compulsory. Every team is going to have at least one youngster, from the junior circuit. The league could kick-off right after next year’s PBL.”
The second event will be an international league, whose focus will be Asian players. The brainchild of Badminton Asia Confederation, the tournament will look to boost the sport in smaller countries in Asia. Being the largest continent, there are still a lot of countries where the game is not as popular as it is in India, China, Japan, South Korea or Indonesia.
“This project might take off only next year. But one thing is for sure, that we want to spread the game to each and every country of the continent,” Das Gupta signed off.