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Junior shuttlers get a shot in the arm

J.R. Shridharan
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14 players from State have been picked up during Indian Badminton League auction

A file photo of Andhra Pradesh junior shuttler Ruthvika Shivani who will play for Lucknow Warriors in the Indian Badminton League.
A file photo of Andhra Pradesh junior shuttler Ruthvika Shivani who will play for Lucknow Warriors in the Indian Badminton League.

It rained dollars for Andhra Pradesh shuttlers at the Indian Badminton League (IBL) auction recently as 14 players were picked by six franchisees for the eighteen-day new format of the feather game which will begin on August 14.

The million dollar league, conceived on the grounds of the cricket’s Indian Premier League (IPL), has come as a boon to State junior players as they not only earned a decent ‘purse’ but also an opportunity to play with and against world-class shuttlers.

“Along with players, the spectators will be immensely benefited (by IBL) as they can watch the top-notch shuttlers in action under one roof. It will also help our shuttlers learn a few techniques from the celebrity players,” felt senior coach P.U. Bhaskar Babu, a senior SAI coach and mentor of international shuttler Chetan Anand. “It will be nice to see Lee Chong Weir of Malaysia wearing a Mumbai Masters jersey,” he quipped.

Lucknow Warriors has the big chunk of AP players such as P.V. Sindhu, Guru Sai Dutt, K. Srikanth, M. Manisha, K. Nandagopal, and Ruthvika Shivani, while Hyderabad Hotshots (Saina Nehwal, K. Tarun), Banga Beats (P. Kashyap, J. Meghana), Delhi Smashers (Jwala Gutta, Sai Praneeth) and Mumbai Masters (Sikki Reddy, Sumeet Reddy) picked two players each.

Several senior players and coaches felt that IBL would give the much-needed impetus to the feather game in attracting the attention of the youngsters. “Some teams are strong and some teams are weak. Badminton Association of India (BAI) could have given more importance to under-19 players as they are future of the country,” felt J.B.S. Vidyadhar, an international shuttler.

Mr. Vidhadhar also felt that the youngsters would learn the importance of professionalism at an early age which would help furthering their budding career.

Sudhakar Reddy, junior India coach and head coach of Chetan Anand Badminton Academy at DRRMC indoor stadium, was on cloud nine as some of his trainees such as Shivani Ruthvika, K. Srikanth and K. Nandagopal were roped in by the franchisees. “All these players have worked hard during their formative days at Khammam’s SAAP academy and this league (IBL) will be a turning point in their fledging careers,” he pointed out.

Incidentally, Andhra Pradesh Badminton Association (APBA) secretary K.Ch. Punnaiah Chowdary has been appointed as technical director, while M.S.N. Prasad of Vijayawada will function as match control of the league.

The eighteen-day new format of the feather game to begin on

August 14

Lucknow Warriors has the big chunk of AP players

APBA secretary has been appointed as technical director


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