Friday, September 25, 2015

2016 IBL – Just what the doctor ordered for Indian badminton

Indian badminton has been ‘consistently’ making the newspaper headlines for all the ‘performance’ reasons. It won’t be a sweeping statement to suggest that the badminton scene in the country is probably at its best with our shuttlers showing ample signs of holding their own against the best in the business, be it in singles or doubles. And the timing of Badminton Association of India’s (BAI) announcement of the second Indian Badminton League (IBL) happening in January 2016 must be a ‘big lift’ for the sport.

It was a bit like ‘early promise that never blossomed’ when it comes to the IBL – the league was launched amidst much fanfare in August 2013 and just when the league was seen as a ‘significant leap’ in the fortunes of the sport in the country, it was greeted by roadblocks one after another. It was almost like the event was jinxed.

The IBL was talked about as the potential cash cow for our shuttlers, who otherwise apart from their secure government jobs, don’t have much to look forward to in terms of cash awards unless they do really well in major competitions – which is always a tough ask.

For a country, that stands tall on the world stage with the likes of Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu, Parupalli Kashyap, Kidambi Srikanth, HS Pranoy, Ajay Jayaram, B Sai, Praneeth, Mannu Attri/B Sumedh Reddy and Jwala Gutta/Ashwini Poonappa regularly making all sit and take notice of their performances, the 2nd IBL will sound like music to their years.

And with promise of more money and glamour for the 2016 edition, the IBL will set to be the best ever with Chennai expected to replace Pune as one of the franchises as BAI strongly feels that one state should have only one franchise. “Players will be keen to make a mark in the 2nd IBL. It is being held after nearly three years and our shuttlers will get a great platform not to just improve their game but also earn good money,” said a BAI official.

Clearly, the 2016 IBL is making all badminton buffs excited!

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