Indian Badminton League will benefit Indian players - Aparna Popat
Former Indian, Olympian, Aparna Popat is excited about her new role as coach of the Indian Badminton League franchise Mumbai Masters. The shuttler said the initiative will be fruitful for the Indian players.
Aparna, in an interview with PTI, said: “I think it’s a huge opportunity. There are a few top 10 players, who are playing the IBL and giving our players a chance to play against these players in a span of three weeks, I think is going to be very useful and fruitful for them.”
She is excited about the challenge of coaching a team at the tournament beginning August 14. The event will be held across six cities.
“I haven’t coached too much, but I have been following the game keenly. It is going to be a big challenge for me and I am very excited,” Aparna added.
“It’s a team event. There is going to be a considerable amount of strategy involved. Each player has his/her own playing style, so we just have to see how our opponents play and who our respective opponents are,” she continued.
Former India number one defended the timing of the event as there are concerns about the performance of players at World Championship. The IBL begins soon after the World Championships that would be held from August 5 to August 11 in Guangzhou, China.
Defending the IBL, Aparna said: “The international badminton calendar is very full. At this stage having the tournament at any given date that is available, is the right thing to do. Otherwise, the tournament calendar is very full.”
On the controversy of removing women’s doubles from IBL evaded the question stating that the organisers have their reasons for it.
“If you were to go by the Sudirman Cup format, then we are missing a women’s doubles (team) but I think the IBL organisers have their own reason for not including it. This is what we have got as of now, and we are happy with it,” she added.
Aparna stated she is optimistic about the chances of Indian players winning at the World Championships.
“Saina (Nehwal) is our front runner. And she has got a good draw. The Indians have been playing really well over the last year, especially since the Olympics. I am just hoping that they come up with some big performances.
“P V Sindhu also has a good chance. She has been playing well and is a dangerous player. Let’s hope she can play to her potential and do really well,” she signed off.