Bengaluru, September 13: These are exciting days for Indian badminton. Rio Games silver medallist PV Sindhu agonisingly came close to winning her maiden world title recently. Saina Nehwal won a bronze. Several Leagues are sprouting up in different parts of the country, adding to the frenzy.
Come Saturday (September 16) Indiranagar Club in Bengaluru will create a slice of badminton history by launching its own league.
Four teams - IIHT Mavericks, SVM Turbos, JP Tornados and Golden Panthers - will battle for honours in the inaugural Indiranagar Badminton League (IBL) to be held at their courts.
Just like most of the franchisee-based leagues including cricket's hugely popular Indian Premier League, the teams in IBL were decided during an auction on September 3.
All the four teams have 29 players each, including a mentor who will be in charge of team selection and strategy. The competitions will be held in seven categories.
Teams will play each other in a round-robin format over three days with the title round scheduled to be held on September 23.
"The response was overwhelming. When we started the auction we didn't expect so many registrations. Our target was around 80 players, but we had a problem of plenty and it soon came to a situation where we had to make a 120-player cut-off. The players were taken purely based on their skills," said Tournament Director Neeraj Mishra, a former national player.
The Indiranagar Club, which has been in existence since the early 80s, has a good history of nurturing talents and taking them to the next level.
National players like Rohan Casteleno, Mahima Aggarwal (who recently won the mixed doubles championships in Ukranie and finished runners-up in Malaysian Grand Prix) junior state champion Trisha Hegde, all came from the club stables.
Youngsters like Sharan, Tanya, Poorvisha, Priya and Drithi are also making their presence felt at many junior tournaments.
Now, with the launch of the IBL, which has Maruthi Group as its main sponsor and DSR Infrastructure Pvt Ltd, Hotel Ajantha and Bootlegger Restaurant on board as other sponsors, a fresh wave of young talent could rise on the horizon.