New Delhi: Confident after winning a bronze medal at the World Championships, fast rising shuttler PV Sindhu says she is ready to take on her celebrated compatriot Saina Nehwal at the inaugural Indian Badminton League.
“I’m thrilled to win the medal, and my immediate target is to excel in the next two weeks at the Indian Badminton League. I am ready to play against Saina and will try to give my best performance. Hope it will be a good show,” Sindhu said.
The 18-year-old, who reached semi-finals at the world meet in China, is a marquee player for the Lucknow franchise while Saina will lead Hyderabad’s challenge. The two will face each other on August 15 at the DDA Badminton & Squash Stadium here.
“I am charged up for playing the IBL… It will be a tough competition and I’m looking forward to play with all the great players,” Sindhu said from Guangzhou.
After her semis loss on Saturday, Sindhu had said that she will work on her weaknesses in the upcoming tournaments, including the IBL.
“Next I have the Indian Badminton League and then there are many other tournaments… I want to do better in these events. I would work on my weaknesses,” she had said.
The 2013 IBL will feature six franchises and will run for 18 days. Each franchise will host a two-day leg and the League will showcase a grand total of 90 matches.
The top four franchises in the League will clash in the semi-finals and the grand finale will be held in Mumbai on August 31.
The Badminton Association of India (BAI) has announced a cash reward of Rs 15 lakh for Sindhu.
“Sindhu’s effort in China deserves all the accolades and we would be rewarding her with a cash prize of Rs 15 lakh as an appreciation for her efforts,” BAI president Akhilesh Das Gupta said in a statement.
Das Gupta pointed out that BAI has made it a point to reward good performances with an aim to not just felicitate them, but also to let all those who are aspiring to make a career in badminton know that the sport is financially rewarding.
“It is for the same reason that the association has conceptualised the Indian Badminton League and I am sure that we can see Indians winning many more medals in major international tournaments in the future,” he added.
Sports minister Jitendra Singh, too, congratulated Sindhu. “Congratulations on your outstanding performance at the World Championships. You have made the country proud by winning the bronze medal,” Singh said in a statement.
“The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports stands committed to supporting your endeavour to bring laurels to India in the future,” he added.
Though this was a huge achievement for Sindhu, the youngster is not ready to bow down to expectations. Rather, she aims to go beyond them.
“There is no pressure… I hope to go beyond the expectations,” she had said on Saturday. Sindhu has also been congratulated by her contemporaries.
Jwala Gutta, who had combined with Ashwini Ponnappa to win a women’s doubles bronze in the 2011 World Championships, tweeted: “Ayyoooo hard luck Sindhu...no matter what u still the rock star...congratulations fr the bronze....mmwahhhh. I am very happy for her, she has done a great thing,” she said.