Top shuttlers in attendance as Grand Prix Badminton League launched in Bengaluru


PTI, Jun 5, 2022, 10:40 AM IST

Image credit: IANS

Bengaluru: The Grand Prix Badminton League (GPBL), which will be played under the aegis of the Karnataka Badminton Association, was officially launched here on Saturday by the country’s leading shuttlers, including P V Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth.

Karnataka’s own premier league for badminton will be held from July 1 to 10 here.

Besides Sindhu and Srikanth, Sai Praneeth, Jwala Gutta, Ashwini Ponappa, Chirag Shetty, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and H S Prannoy also graced the ceremony. The leading athletes were also announced as mentors of the eight franchises in the league who will clash for honours in the inaugural edition of GPBL, a statement said.

Double Olympic medallist Sindhu, who is the co-owner of the city team Bengaluru Lions, said she was excited to be a part of GPBL.

”We all know what these kinds of leagues have done to games other than cricket. I think this is a platform to unearth talent while taking the game to the masses. I am super thrilled to be a part of GPBL,” Sindhu was quoted as saying after unveiling the trophy.

”After co-owning a team in the Premier Badminton League (PBL) and having seen the potential the game has to offer, we thought about introducing a unique league. Also, it has been two years since the last edition of PBL and hence we wanted to keep the momentum going,” said Prashanth Reddy, the League Commissioner and CEO of Bitsport, along with his childhood friend and former national champion Arvind Bhat.

”Our main aim is to give a platform to players to play league matches at this level and earn some very important match practice. Along with that, the players will also have the chance to earn good salaries for their effort which could help the players support their career,” said Arvind Bhat who is the League Director.

”It is a matter of pride not only for the Karnataka Badminton Association but for the entire state of Karnataka itself for hosting a tournament of this stature,” said Manoj Kumar, President, KBA.

Apart from Bengaluru Lions, the seven other teams — Mangalore Sharks, Mandya Bulls, Mysore Panthers, Malnad Falcons, Bandipur Tuskers, KGF Wolves, and Kodagu Tigers — are in the fray. The total prize purse will be Rs 60 lakh with the winning team walking away with a cheque of Rs 24 lakh while the runner-up will pocket Rs 12 lakh. The semifinalists will be richer by Rs 6 lakh apiece while the fifth-placed team will receive Rs 4 lakh. The last three placed teams will earn Rs 3 lakh, Rs 2 lakh, and Rs 1 lakh respectively.

Apart from the team honours, various individual performances in every game and the overall season will be awarded.

The teams will be mentored by their respective superstars.

Malnad Falcons will be mentored by Chirag Shetty while Bandipur Tuskers will have the expertise of Jwala Gutta, who is also the co-owner of the team.

Mysore Panthers will be guided by Satwik Rankireddy and the Kodava Tigers by Ashwini Ponnappa.

The Mandya Bulls will have the support of Sai Praneeth and KGF Wolves will be mentored by H S Prannoy. The Mangalore Sharks will have Srikanth as their ambassador while the Bengaluru Lions will be tutored by Sindhu.

As many as 400 players from across the country have registered for the league for which the auction will be held next week, according to a statement.

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