इंडियन आवाज़     28 Sep 2023 04:22:23      انڈین آواز

Vodafone Badminton: Players declare war as battle-lines are drawn


As the battle-lines for the third edition of the Vodafone Premier Badminton League are drawn, the marquee players of all the eight teams in fray squared up here on Wednesday, with each promising to set the courts on fire.

Chennai Smashers will take on Saina Nehwal’s Awadhe Warriors with in the opening tie on December 23 with Lee Yan of Smashers declaring “We go into the league as the defending champions and we are quite confident of repeating our last year’s performance,” he said at the press conference held to launch the league.

“We have the team that has already gone the distance. If anything, we are better this year,” he added.

Yan will, however, be aware that the Saina’s Warriors who have been the most consistent squad in the PBL.

Saina herself is counting on that to begin her team’s campaign on a high note. “We have made it to the knock-out stages of all the editions so far. It was nothing but bad luck that prevented us from winning the trophy,” she pointed out.

“But we are upbeat about our chances in this edition and will give it our all to bring the trophy home,” the 2017 World championship bronze medallist added.

Vodafone PBL 3 itself goes to the next level as it becomes a strong 8-team league, with the addition of two more franchises and a 23 days long tournament which will see players and 10 Olympic Medallists fighting it out.

HS Prannoy, the most successful men’s singles player during the last edition, will lead new entrants Ahmedabad Smash Masters’ challenge and is hopeful of a great outing. “We are a new team and have been gelling very well. We will be the team to watch out for. Believe me when I say this, we will be the team to beat,” he said.

Tian Houwei, the lone Chinese player in PBL – 3, will turn up for Delhi Dashers and feels his team has enough firepower to light up the league.

“I am new to this league but after looking at the teams, I can say that we are no way behind any squad and have all the ingredients to go all the way,” he said.

Another new entrant to the league, North Eastern Warriors, will be spearheaded by the likes of Ajay Jayaram and Tzu Wei Wang of Chinese Taipei.

Ajay was confident ahead of the league and said, “If you look at our team composition, you can see that we have the most balanced squad, with the right kind of players for every encounter. We are confident and know that we have it in us to go all the way.”

Spanish superstar Carolina Marin will hope to do better for Hyderabad Hunters this year and exorcise the demons of the last season where they were knocked-out in the semis.

“We had come really close last season and it was really sad that we could not go on to win the title. But we will come out all guns blazing and make sure that we lay our hands on the title,” the former World no. 1 said.

Last year’s finalist Mumbai Rockets will be led by Korean star Son Wan Ho and his squad will have a point to prove. “We were the finalists last year and even though this is a new squad we are confident of going all the way. Also on the personal front, I did not have a great outing last season and I am eager to make amends to that as well,” Son Wan said.


Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma, President of Badminton Association of India (BAI), was confident of the league’s success and said, “We are delighted to be back once again and we are hopeful of a great show. With so many world-class players in action, I am quite sure the fans will be in for a great treat.”

Expressing his delight over Vodafone’s association with the league, Siddharth Banerjee, Executive Vice President, Marketing, Vodafone India, said, “Vodafone, as one India’s most loved brands, continues to partner with our customers to enable them to be at their personal best, or as we say, #BeSuper

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