‘Badminton will bring India at least 2 medals at Rio’

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New Delhi, Jan 16 (IANS) Badminton Association of India (BAI) president Akhilesh Das Gupta said here on Saturday that the country’s shuttlers will bring home not one but at least two medals from the Rio Olympics later this uear.

Saina Nehwal became the first, and only, Indian to win an Olympic medal in badminton when she brought home a bronze from London in 2012.

“India will win at least two medals if not more from Rio Olympics and the colour of the metal will be even better,” Das Gupta assured.

The sports administrator, who is also the chairman of the ongoing Premier Badminton League (PBL), said the six-team tournament will benefit Indian players to perform better in the future.

“Legendary shuttler Lee Chong Wei recently said that the players who will benefit most from this league are Indians,” said the PBL chairman.

Importantly, Das Gupta added that the players taking part in the league have already received their payments. In the 2013 Indian Badminton League (IBL), a lot of controversy surrounded the players and coaching staff’s remuneration, with several of them not being paid for months.

Das Gupta, in a light hearted comment, also hinted that chief national coach Pullela Gopichand, who is also a governing council member of the tournament, might be elevated to the position of commissioner from next edition.

“Gopichand has been the real backbone behind the PBL. He is not just a good coach but an able administrator as well and he might be made commissioner for the next edition of PBL,” said Das Gupta.

The trophies for the winning team and runners-up were also unveiled by Das Gupta, Gopichand and the owners of the two finalist teams.

The league is all set to culminate at the Siri Fort Sports Complex here on Sunday evening where the Delhi Acers will take on Mumbai Rockets in the final.

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