Some of badminton’s biggest names, including women’s Olympic singles gold medallist Carolina Marin of Spain and men’s singles Olympic bronze medallist Viktor Axelsen, will go under the hammer for the second edition of the Premier Badminton League to be held from Jan 1 to 14 next year.
World No 1 Marin and Denmark’s Axelsen have confirmed their participation although premier Chinese and Japanese players will give it the miss owing to other international commitments.
World No 4 Axelsen, his compatriot Jan O Jorgensen (world No 6) and Sun Won Ho of Korea (world No 5) have been included in the Icon bucket. Among women, Marin, Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu, world No 6 Saina Nehwal and world No 8 Sung Ji Hyun of Korea form the marquee group to go under the hammer.
Although all players will be auctioned, teams have the power to retain a maximum of three players by paying them the final bid price.
“It is a matter of immense pride for us to be back with the new edition of the PBL. It was a huge success last year and we promise to not only replicate the same level of success but to also strive to make it even better. We are confident of offering a highly exciting League this year which will enthuse our lakhs of fans,” BAI president and PBL chairman Dr Akhilesh Das Gupta said.
National coach Pullela Gopichand is the chief advisor of the PBL. “Thanks to the spectacular performance of Indian Players at the Olympics, the game has added a large number of new viewers, so our effort will be to make the League as exciting and interesting as possible. We are bringing in certain innovations in the format of the League to make it even more spectator-friendly,” the former all-England winner said.