Shuttler Marin excited to be back in PBL

Shuttler Marin excited to be back in PBL

Carolina Marin. (File Photo: Xinhua/Du Yu/IANS)
Carolina Marin. (File Photo: Xinhua/Du Yu/IANS)

New Delhi, Dec 20 (IANS) Spanish badminton star Carolina Marin on Wednesday rated the Premier Badminton League (PBL) as one of the major tournaments featuring eight World Championship medallists and nine Olympic medallists.Expanded to eight teams with the addition of two new franchises -- North Eastern Warriors and Ahmedabad Smash Masters -- the third edition of the PBL offers a prize money of Rs six crore with the winners pocketing half of it.Marin will spearhead the Hyderabad Hunters franchise in the tournament, starting December 23 in Guwahati -- the home city of the North Eastern Warriors."I am excited to be back in India, which feels like my second home. The PBL is a major tournament for all the players, and I hope the third edition will be bigger and better. All the best to all the players," the Rio Olympics gold medallist told reporters at the launch of the league.The inclusion of two new teams would have meant 31 matches for the eight participating contingents, and a lot of travel for the home and away matches. However, the league has been restricted to 23 matches and five venues -- Guwahati, Delhi, Lucknow, Chennai and Hyderabad.Atul Pandey, the chairman of SportzLive, a body which has been in charge of conceptualising and executing the league for the last two editions, in collaboration with the Badminton Association of India (BAI), said the four venues were decided by a draw of lots and Chennai was offered its matches as it had not hosted the league the last time."Basically there are eight teams and if all teams have to play each other then we need a 31-match calendar. (In that scenario), we need 31-day window from BWF and BAI," Pandey explained."BAI has been great this year, they gave us a 23-day window and if you look at the player travel and all that, its actually a 28-day window."Within that window, last year the players complained of fatigue and travel across too many locations. So we sat down with the team owners and decided to split the locations every year. So this year we will go to four and next year another four," he added.Besides, North Eastern Warriors, Ahmedabad Smash Masters and Hyderabad Hunters, the other franchises in the PBL are Chennai Smashers, Awadhe Warriors, Bengaluru Blasters, Mumbai Rockets and Delhi Dashers.In another development, leading soft energy drink Boost has tied up with the Chennai and Hyderabad franchises as the official Energy Partner.--IANStri/bg

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