Published: 01st October 2018
Fly, birdie, fly: Amateur Badminton Hyderabad League is surely gaining popularity in the city
Puzhankara informs us that this is a gender neutral league and women can participate too
In India, one of the most popular outdoor games we indulge in, apart from cricket and football of course, is badminton. So, it doesn't surprise us when we learn that the Amateur Badminton Hyderabad League (ABHL), which was started with 20 players in 2015, saw 220 players participate in their fourth season that concluded recently. This non-commercial league was started by Ranjith Puzhankara with a few simple rules. People participate in teams of five and play both singles and doubles matches. And the age limit is above 23 and below 60.
Usually, in one team, only one member below 23 is allowed to ensure that the game remains fair to all. Also, Teams have funky names of their own like Band of Feathers and Ameerpet Shuttlers
Puzhankara, a Keralite who has previously worked in Bengaluru and is now in Hyderabad, was desperately looking for a court to play in the city. "I noticed that new players are not easily welcomed into courts here,” notes Puzhankara, so he thought to himself, why not level the playing field. From a post on an already existing ABHL Facebook page to today, it's been a long journey of organising these tournaments. He started boosting the confidence of players by putting up the names of the participants on ABHL’s social media pages and then, left it to word of mouth to do the rest. "I was careful about hosting the tournament only on Sundays from 8 am to 1 pm because I understand that Sunday is family time," says Puzhankara, who was an amateur badminton player himself. He also makes it clear that the teams themselves are responsible for all the equipment used and court rentals.
Amateurs are usually shy about playing in tournaments, but through ABHL, I aim for a more structured approach that could appeal to all along the lines of cricket and football leagues
Ranjith Puzhankara, Organiser, ABHL
For the next season, 42-year-old Puzhankara is going to rank the players of ABHL to further motivate them. And because people can only play in teams of five, he will maintain an online database, with the help of which he will be able to club people who are looking to join a team. And though there are no cash prizes at the end, just like there is no registration fee, a gleaming golden trophy could have your name on it if you win.
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