PBL: Ahmedabad gears up for badminton frenzy

The likes of newly crowned World Tour Finals women’s singles champion P. V. Sindhu, Commonwealth Games gold medallist Saina Nehwal and Olympic gold medallist Carolina Marin will be seen in action at Ahmedabad.

Pune 7 Aces' Carolina Marin will be among the big names to look out for at the Ahmedabad leg of the Premier Badminton League.   -  Vivek Bendre

The cream of Indian badminton and  brightest talents from from Asia and Europe will be seen in action in the city for five days as the Premier Badminton League (PBL) makes its debut in Gujarat. Seven matches featuring all the nine teams will be played at the The Arena by TransStadia from Wednesday.

The likes of newly crowned World Tour Finals women’s singles champion P. V. Sindhu, 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Saina Nehwal and Olympic gold medallist Carolina Marin will be seen in action.

With a nagging shin injury keeping her out of action for her side's first three matches, Saina made her first appearance against Hyderabad Hunters on Tuesday.

With the teams competing hard in order to firm up semifinal births, the format of the league could throw some interesting results, but the league here is also about promoting the game of badminton in these parts. Gujarat has produced India's top-ranked women's tennis player like Ankita Raina and upcoming table tennis star Manav Thakkar, but has hardly seen any promise in badminton.

According to Mayur Parikh, Secretary of the Gujarat Badminton Association (GBA), the badminton buffs would be keen to see players like Sindhu, Saina, Carolina, Kidambi Srikanth and others in action.

The Gujarat Badminton Association is also using the PBL as a platform to further promote the sport in the state.

"There are about 3,000 players at different academies in the State. I hope to see a good turn out on the day Ahmedabad Smash Masters play (Friday and Sunday). Close to 1,000 boys and girls play serious badminton. We receive as many entries across all age groups for the State Championships. Some don’t come for the State Championship, either because they don’t have the means or have other priorities like education,’’ said Parikh.