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Ivanov gives PBL the thumbs up

Target: After four seasons in the PBL without a title, Vladimir Ivanov aims to set things right this year.

Target: After four seasons in the PBL without a title, Vladimir Ivanov aims to set things right this year.  

Says the league has helped in preparing for BWF tournaments

Russia’s Vladimir Ivanov knows a thing or two about India and its players. Having played in all five Premier Badminton League seasons and a year in the then Indian Badminton League, the 32-year-old has seen from close the growth of the league.

According to Ivanov playing in PBL has definitely helped in preparing for the Badminton World Federation tournaments. “Here, in three weeks, we have good practice with top players every day. In Russia it is not possible. A best I can only play with players ranked in the top-80 in the world, whereas the cream of badminton is here [PBL],” he said. “I’ve had practice sessions with Sindhu, Sourabh [Verma], Lee [Dong Yae], Mathias Boe, Chirag Shetty,” said Ivanov, who is playing for Hyderabad Hunters in PBL-5.

Ivanov hasn’t been part of a winning team so far in the league. “One time we finished second as part of Mumbai Rockets. I am yet to win a PBL title. Maybe this year, as we have many talented players in Hyderabad Hunters,” he said.

Surprising

Ivanov shot into prominence after winning the 2016 All England Open men’s title along with Ivan Suzonov, but that has surprisingly not had a great impact on his career, he said. “It was really a good result for us. But my life has not changed because badminton is not popular in Russia, only winter sports is. But the Russian Government is supporting us by taking care of travel and stay during BWF tournaments.”

The pairing with Suzonov — with whom he has won 22 BWF (Grand Prix & International Challenge/Series) titles in the last 10-odd years — the 32-year-old said was by accident.

“It was situational,” he remarked. “While we were practising in Moscow, he asked me whether I can partner him. I said, ‘yes, why not’. We started with the Bulgarian Open Challenger in 2008-09 and lost in the semifinals. From there on, it has been quite a good progress,” said Ivanov, who has represented Russia in men’s singles and doubles in the 2012 London Olympics and was ranked as high as world No. 7 in 2017.

On the pair’s chances of qualifying for the Tokyo Games, Ivanov said it would not be easy. Currently ranked 13th in the Road to Tokyo BWF Olympic rankings, Ivanov — a 2018 European championship bronze medallist — said, “we are in a dangerous situation, but are eager to qualify.”

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2020 11:22:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/ivanov-gives-pbl-the-thumbs-up/article30626520.ece

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