Sindhu leads 2-1 against Sai
By our Sports Reporter
Guwahati, Dec 22: The most enduring rivalry in Indian badminton will be on display once again on Saturday when global superstars PV Sindhu and Sai Nehwal lock horns at the Karmabir bin Chandra Bordoloi Indoor Stadium and lend a blockbuster opening to the third edition of the Vodafone Premier Badminton League.
In what promises to be an exciting opener, the Sindhu-led Cheni Smashers, who are the defending champions, will meet Sai’s Awadhe Warriors, the most consistent team of the league.
Sindhu, currently ranked No 3 in the World, holds a 2-1 edge in her recent meetings against Sai, with her only loss coming in a riveting Senior tiol Championship file held at gpur last month.
It is not just a persol battle of the two Indian girls as they would also be looking to guide their respective teams to glory in a highly-competitive league that also features the world’s top players including men’s World No 1 Viktor Axlesson (Denmark) and women’s No 1 Tai Tzu Ying (Taiwan).
On the eve of the league opener, Sindhu underplayed her duel with Sai instead emphasising upon the stiff competition she would be up against in the next 23 days, “I’m looking forward to our opening match against Awadhe Warriors. It is not just my match against Sai, every match will be tough as there are some really strong teams out there. The competition is going to be really good,” Sindhu said media on Friday.
The president of the Badminton Association of India (BAI) and Assam Badminton Association (ABA) Himanta Biswa Sarma and a few other officials of the BAI today accompanied Sindhu during the media interaction.
Sharing information on the tourment Sarma said. “ With World No.1 in both men’s and women’s singles, eight 2017 World Championship medalists, nine Olympic medalists competing in this edition, the league is easily the best among Olympic disciplines in the country.”
Eight teams, including two new entrants Ahmedabad Smash Masters and North Eastern Warriors, will line up against each other in five cities. Each team will have one junior player travelling with their respective team to get the exposure and learn from the world’s best.
Every day there will be one battle between two teams comprising five matches - men’s and women’s singles and doubles and mixed doubles. Each match will be a three-game affair of 15 points and played under the Rally Points Scoring System. If scores are tied 14-14, the team scoring the 15th point first will win that game. The top four finishers will play the semifils and fils to be held in Hyderabad.
Sarma believed that the league will be a huge motivation for budding players, “With 40 of the world’s best players in action, many young players will be inspired to do well and take part in the league in future,” said the BAI president who is also the Health, Fince, Education etc Minister of Assam. He also added: “Assam has good talents in this game but local players must adopt professiol approach to go on the top like Sindhu, Sai and others.”
It should be mentioned that popular singer Zubeen Garg will perform in the opening ceremony along Shillong Chamber Choir. Chief Minister Sarbanda Sonowal will attend the ceremony as the Chief Guest.