Delhi Dashers vows to fare better with a new sponsor

Having managed to eke out a solitary point from its opening match against Mumbai Rockets, Delhi hopes to fare better against Benglauru Blasters on Thursday.

Tian Houwei of Delhi Dashers in action against Son Wan Ho of Mumbai Rockets.   -  Ritu Raj Konwar

Buoyed by the support extended by Dalmia Bharat Cement which has come on board as the major sponsor for the team, Delhi Dashers vowed to recover from a tough start and move towards the trophy in the Premier Badminton League (PBL).

Having managed to eke out a solitary point from its opening match against Mumbai Rockets in Guwahati, as the trump backfired, Delhi expressed optimism to put up a better fare against Benglauru Blasters on Thursday.

Even though the team won two points by winning the singles matches through Sung Ji Hyun of Korea and Tian Houwei of China, Delhi got it wrong as Wong Wing Ki Vincent of Hong Kong, lost as the trump, leading to a loss of point, while the opposite team gathered two points.

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‘’You have to take a chance. We lost the trump match. We had a matchpoint in the first doubles before we lost that. We won two singles. In this type of format, anything is possible. We have four top-20 players in the world. We are confident of playing better in the matches ahead’’, said the Delhi coach Ajay Kanwar.

It was also noted that Ashwini Ponnappa could not be part of the opening match and that had possibly weakened the mixed doubles combination. However, the team praised the commitment of Ashwini as she joined the team, to strengthen its chances, after her marriage on December 24.

On her part Ashwani said that the 15-point format was ideal after it was felt that the 11-point format was too quick in the last season.

The Managing Director of Sportzlive, the mastermind behind the badminton league, Atul Pande, stressed that there was a constant effort being made to tweak he format to arrive at the right formula so that matches could be played in the peak television time from 7 to 10.30 p.m.

The CEO of Dalmia Bharat Cement, Mahesh Singhi said that his company was happy to be associated with a fast growing game like badminton. He said that the vision of his company was to make sports as a way of life for everyone in the country.

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"When India plays sports, India will be healthy. We want to do something for the society, after supporting games like cricket, boxing and football’’, said Mahesh Singhi, expressing hope that his team would hold the "beautiful trophy’’ after the final.

While it was the maiden experience in the PBL for Tian Houwei, Sung Ji Hyon has played the last two years. Both said that they would continue to contribute their best to ensure the team’s progress.

The organisers also noted that more Chinese players could be part of the league from the next season as talks were on with with the Chinese Federation and individual stars like Chen Hong.

The hectic calendar did crop up in discussion, but players like Ashwini chose to focus on the league on hand at the moment, keeping aside the worries of the season.

Touching on certain salient points of badminton in the country, like it was the largest selling sports item on amazon, and pointing out that the country would need about 1000 qualified coaches in the next five years to cater to the high demands for the game, the organisers said that the focus was to help at least 100 players in the country make a good living from the game.