STORY CREDITS: Rohini Banerjee & Madhurima Dey
“The attention given to the league as such is not even at par with the attention that is given to the badminton sport in India.” said Taapsee Pannu, the Co-Owner of 7Ace Pune, at their press conference on being questioned about how Badminton Premier League will give exposure to badminton as a sport. She believes that badminton being “a family sport” has the most exposure in India next to cricket. Moreover, India has been the standout example of producing world class talents such as the likes of Saina Nehwal and P.V Sindhu. The Bollywood actress added that she is doing her best to get more people to watch the league and recognize young budding players.
Up until last time, there were only 8cities participating and Pune is the 9th and newest addition to the league. When questioned which team they would find a tough task to beat, most of the members of 7Ace Pune team mutually agreed that Bangalore is going to be their toughest competitor. But Taapsee firmly believes that she has full confidence in her team and they also have an added advantage with the signing of marquee player Carolina Marin, the defending champion on their side this year.
The Coach feels that whilst they may be the underdogs on paper, it does not matter as anyone can beat the strong teams if they put up a tough fight. He adds that teams such as Ahmedabad and Lucknow fit his description. When he was asked about the number of days they would get for practicing with the foreign players such as Carolina Marin, the defending Champion of the League, he said “As far as the foreign players are concerned,most of them are arriving a couple of days earlier and we tend to get three or four days of practice before the league starts”.
The team will be practicing in their respective academies before meeting Carolina to practice together for a few days before the games commence. Prajakta Sawant, one of the younger team members was asked if it was unfair that the format of the game does not include women’s doubles. He replied,“ In Badminton Premier League though is no women’s doubles event, there is mixed doubles, which is very smart and interesting. I don’t think women’s doubles being included will make much of a difference.” The coach also agreed that mixed doubles is fast paced and attacking. “Women’s doubles isn’t usually a part of most leagues. It’s actually up to BPL organizers to include it or not, but as of now I don’t see them incorporating it.”stated the coach.