The North Eastern Warriors will look for a turnaround to their fortunes when skipper Saina Nehwal takes to the court for the first time in the 4th Vodafone Premier Badminton League (PBL) against Mumbai Rockets, the No. 2 team on the leaderboard with five points, here tomorrow.
With a close 2-3 win-loss record out of the five ties in their last fixture, the Warriors, led by India’s first woman to win an Olympic bronze Saina Nehwal, will be looking to unleash their firepower when they take on the Mumbai Rockets. If she provides the start that NEW wants, it will be a great inspiration to the players following her.
“It wasn’t the start that we were expecting, but we drew satisfaction from the success of Rituparna when she beat Kirsty Gilmore, a top 50 ranked player and Tian backing with a brilliant game. We are confident of a fresh start as the team has regrouped and we aim to have the first win tomorrow,” said a confident Saina.
On personal count, she added: “I had not played the last match, but I am practising and moving well on the court, so will do whatever is best possible for the team’s success.”
And without a doubt, Saina will want Chinese Tian Houwei, the winner of China Masters Open who made his debut last year against Delhi Dashers, to do his part as well as he did the other night in Mumbai. His value addition of this veteran will definitely add to the firepower in men singles. Tanongsak Sansomboonsuk, the first Thai shuttler to win a Superseries, has loads of experience and credentials—seven SEA Games medals and the 2010 Asian Games bronze medal in his swelling kitty—to do a thorough job in singles.
NEW also has a good mix of doubles players in Kim Ha Na—she won her first title in India Open in 20112. The silver medal winner at the Incheon Games in 2014 is a tricky customer and possesses the strokes and guile of a mixed doubles pair to outdo the best in business. After having had a quiet year, she will look to prove her worth.
Former World No 2 and a South Korean stalwart, Yoo Yeon Seong was a vital cog in the title-winning efforts of Hyderabad Hunters last season. He brings in not only the experience but also a big boost to Warriors’ doubles lineup and the PBL veteran will look to make his experience count along with Liao Min Chun, the 2014 Games bronze winner. The Taiwanese, a star attraction in the lineup, with his experience can provide the edge that NE Warriors needs.
But Mumbai Rockets do have a solid attack to counter the Warriors with the likes of Le Yong Dae and Sameer Verma in doubles and singles respectively will look for their second win. In addition, they have proved themselves to be a tough team, having been the runners-up in Season 1 and 2. The only disadvantage could be that they will be playing the Saina-led New Warriors for the first time as they didn’t meet them in Season 3.
The momentum is certainly with Mumbai Rockets and Sameer Verma agrees that they will look to keep it going till the end of the season. “We had a good start and it will be critical that we get a good start here too against the North East. It will be important that we continue the winning momentum,” said Sameer Verma, who trains at the Gopichand academy in Hyderabad and will be crowd’s support.
About Vodafone Premier Badminton League Season 4
The Vodafone Premier Badminton League Season 4, is the one of world’s richest prize money tournament offering a total prize of INR 6 Cr. The league is conducted by SportzLive, 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 22nd 2018-January 13th 2019 and will see 9 teams; Delhi Dashers, Mumbai Rockets, Hyderabad Hunters, Awadhe Warriors, Chennai Smashers, Bengaluru Raptors, Ahmedabad Smash Masters, North Eastern Warriors and Pune Seven Aces battle out in 5 different cities of India, including Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Bengaluru. Matches will be telecast live on Star Sports and live streaming made available on Hotstar.
About Badminton Association of India:
The Badminton Association of India (BAI) is the Governing Body for Badminton in India recognized by Ministry of Sports, Govt. of India as National Sports Federation. BAI is registered under the Societies Act and recognised by Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and internationally affiliated to Badminton Asia Confederation (BAC) and Badminton World Federation (BWF). BAI was formed in 1934 and Badminton Associations of all States / UTs are its Member Associations. BAI organizes National Championships for all categories of Badminton players apart from Zonal, Inter State Championships and All India Ranking Tournaments in India. BAI also conducts various International Tournaments like the India Open World SuperSeries, Syed Modi India Grand Prix, India Junior International Championship along with the ambitious grassroot project, Shuttle Time which aims to reach 1.5 million school children in 21 States in 2018. BAI has also initiated the Coaching the Coaches programmes for creating a pool of Coaches to promote Badminton in India.
About Sportz& Live Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. (Sportzlive) is a Gurgaon based sports management and marketing company set up byexperienced industry veterans! It’s a venture capital funded company that acquires sports IPRs. It already has an impressive portfolio that includes the, Premier Badminton League, Indian Cue League (Snooker + Pool) and several other IPR properties. Sportzlive currently has about 90 days of Live action content as part of its overall vision for development of the sports ecosystem in the country. They have also set up North India’s largest Badminton Academy at Greater Noida in association with Pullela Gopichand.