And now, an IBL

The glamorised version of badminton, the Indian Badminton League, is all set to hit the courts in six cities of the country on June 24. Six franchisees will vie for glory in the $ one million prize money event.

According to reliable sources, the IBL will be played at six world-class venues in Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune and Lucknow. “The IBL heralds a new era in Indian badminton. It will provide a great opportunity to our players to play along with the best in the world and learn from them. I’m sure it will be a great catalyst in motivating our youngsters,” said the National coach, Pullela Gopi Chand.

Each team will comprise 11 players, including one icon player and four foreign players. A maximum of three foreign players are eligible to play in a match. The league will adopt the Sudirman Cup format and will follow the BWF (Badminton World Federation) and BAI (Badminton Association of India) rules and regulations.

The IBL will consist of 28 matches over three weeks, from June 24 to July 14. Each tie will consist of one men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles and the team that wins three out of five matches will be declared winner. Each team will play a minimum of five ties.

Players from China, Denmark, Korea, Indonesia and Malaysia have confirmed their participation in the IBL. As a run-up to the league, BAI plans to organise a pan-India school activation programme called the Shuttle Express. The final of this event will be played at an IBL venue and the winners will receive training at prestigious academies.

J. R. Shridharan