Premier Badminton League Season 4 Kicks Off on Saturday
The fourth season of the Premier Badminton League will commence in Mumbai on Saturday, 22 December, with the addition of Pune 7 Aces promising to take the competition up a notch by making it a nine-team affair.
The upcoming edition will feature an impressive total of 90 players from 17 nations, which includes eight Olympic medallists and eight players ranked in the top-10 vying for the top honours and the PBL trophy.
The 23-day extravaganza, which is organised by Sportzlive under the aegis of the Badminton Association of India, will be held across five venues, with Ahmedabad and Pune hosting matches for the first time.
“PBL has gotten bigger with every season and the growth in the fan following of the sport serves as a testament to it,” said BAI President Himanta Biswa Sarma ahead of the season opener for 2018/19.
Season 4 begins with a fire-cracker of a contest, as newly-inducted Pune take on reigning champions Hyderabad Hunters in a clash which will pit Carolina Marin and PV Sindhu against each other in a rematch of this year’s World Championship final, as well as the 2016 Olympic final.
Marin – a vital cog in the Hyderabad wheel in season 3 – is now part of Pune 7 Aces, while Sindhu gets to play for hometown franchise for the first time.
“I love coming to India and playing PBL. Two years of playing for Hyderabad has been very special and am looking forward to my journey with the Pune 7 Aces. As for the match against (P.V.) Sindhu, both of us will want to win our tie. My job is to play to the best of my ability and I will certainly give her no room.”Carolina Marin
Sindhu enters PBL 4 at her highest ebb, having ended her finals jinx by lifting the BWF World Tour Finals crown for the biggest title of her career – after defeats in six successive major finals.
For Saina Nehwal, the responsibility will be even greater as she leads a team comprising of promising youngsters for the North Eastern Warriors. The 2012 Olympic bronze medallist comes into PBL 4 on a personal high, having recently married fellow badminton player Parupalli Kashyap.
The league will also have a strong Chinese flavour this season, with three players from China, along with a host of Indian juniors, playing in the PBL for the first time.
Nine teams – Delhi Dashers, Ahmedabad Smash Masters, Awadhe Warriors, Bengaluru Raptors, Mumbai Rockets, Hyderabad Hunters, Chennai Smashes, North Eastern Warriors and Pune 7 Aces – will slug it out for a prize purse of Rs 6 crore over the 23-day long edition.
The inaugural rounds will be held in Mumbai, followed by Hyderabad, Pune and Ahmedabad, before the semis and finals in Bnegaluru.