Hyderabad Hunters are counting on their star power, led by former World No. 1 Lee Hyun Il, Olympic gold medallist Carolina Marin and feared doubles player Yoo Yeon Seong, to win this edition of the Vodafone Premier Badminton League (PBL).
“With Lee Hyun Il, (Yoo Yeon) Seong and Marin, we have the strongest team on paper,” India’s B. Sai Praneeth, who will lead the Hunters’ charge in the men’s singles, declared. “We know our stars will shine on the court and we are looking at making it first to the semifinals and then the finals,” he added.
The bigger and grander PBL, with two more teams in the fray, begins in Guwahati on December 23, with Hyderabad’s exports to Chennai Smashers (PV Sindhu) and Awadhe Warriors (Saina Nehwal) set to open the league on a highly-charged note.
“I am very happy to be a part of the Hunters team for the second time in a row and will give my best on the court to have the Hyderabad crowd watch their home team during the semi-final and final stage of the tournament,” he added.
After narrowly losing out in the semi-finals last year to the Mumbai Rockets, the Hyderabad based franchisee have brought in the expertise of former Olympic gold medallist and World Champion Markis Kido along with Yoo Yeon Seong in the doubles category whereas Lee Hyun Il will feature in the singles category alongside Sai Praneeth.
It will surely be a moment to forget when the team was just a step away from entering the finals but Rajendra Kumar, the coach of the Hyderabad team, is optimistic about how well-balanced the team is this time around and feels they have an upper hand with the number of options they have in the doubles section.
“We have loads of options in the doubles category and I am sure we can gain an advantage over the other teams if we play it right,” the coach explained. “Yes, the semi-final loss from last year still haunts us, but we are positive to make it past the group stages as we take it one game at a time and keep bringing in the desired results,” he added.
Also, in a bid to promote the sport and give more exposure to youngsters in the badminton frenzied state, the owner of the Hyderabad Hunters, Dr. VRK Rao, took this opportunity to disclose that they will be the organizing a camp for the youngsters which will give them an opportunity to meet the stars of Indian Badminton.
“We will be organizing a Sub Junior Badminton Camp (U-13) in January at the Gopichand Academy which will give us an opportunity to scout individuals who will be given a chance to train at the most prestigious academy in the country and meet their idols,” the owner of the team and Agile Security Forces, Dr. VRK Rao said.
About Vodafone Premier Badminton League Season 3
The Vodafone Premier Badminton League Season 3, is the world’s richest prize money badminton tournament offering a prize of INR 6 Cr. The league is conducted bySportzLive, licensee partners of PBL and is organised under the aegis of Badminton Association of India (BAI), led by President Dr.Himanta Biswa Sarma. The league kick starts from December 23nd 2017-January 14th 2018 and will see 8 teams; Delhi Dashers, Mumbai Rockets, Hyderabad Hunters, Awadhe Warriors, Chennai Smashers, Bengaluru Blasters, Ahmedabad Smash Masters and North Eastern Warriors battle out in across 5 different locations of India including Guwahati, Delhi, Lucknow, Chennai and Hyderabad. Matches will be telecasted live on Star Sports Network and online streaming will be done on Hotstar.com.