India’s Premier Badminton League (PBL) Postponed Due to COVID-19

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Tai Tzu Ying and Chan Peng Soon were part of the Bengaluru Raptors team that won the 2020 PBL title. (photo: PBL)
Tai Tzu Ying and Chan Peng Soon were part of the Bengaluru Raptors team that won the 2020 PBL title. (photo: PBL)

New Delhi: The coronavirus pandemic has changed our lives in a major way, and all of us are learning to be more flexible and do things differently. In 2020, we saw a lot of sports events canceled, postponed, or delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As India’s total Coronavirus cases have risen past the 9,309,871 mark on Thursday, it became the world’s second-worst infected country, behind the USA.

The sixth-edition of the Premier Badminton League (PBL) which was scheduled to be held between December 2020 to January 2021 had to be postponed as the second wave of the pandemic is currently hitting hard in Delhi and other major cities in India.

“We have been lucky to get a window in December-January for last five years but COVID has turned life upside down. International travel is also banned till December 31 so that is also a problem. We have to think about players’ safety in these times,” said Prasad Mangipudi, Managing Director of Sportzlive – the official license holder of the league under the aegis of the Badminton Association of India (BAI).

“Well, health and safety of all is of paramount importance, after carefully considering all guidelines, protocols, and commitments and discussions with the BAI, we have decided to look for possible dates only next year,” added Prasad.

The fifth edition of PBL was held from January 20, 2020, to February 9, 2020, across four cities. But since Badminton World Federation (BWF) would start 2021 with YONEX Thailand Open (a Super 1000 event) from Jan 12 to Jan 17, 2021, TOYOTA Thailand Open (a Super 1000 event) from Jan 19 to Jan 24, 2021, and the BWF World Tour Finals 2020 from January 27 to Jan 31, 2021, it’s not realistic to organize the new season of PBL early next year.

“We will have to wait and see. This year’s edition would have happened in cities like Pune, Mumbai, Delhi which were most seriously hit by COVID-19. Also, there is the Asia leg in January and then the Olympic qualifiers but we are hoping to host the event between the Olympics and the end of the last qualifying tournament in May,” explained Prasad.

The PBL is a very popular badminton league in the world. Not only that it offers top paying money for players who play in the league (PV Sindhu was selected by Hyderabad Hunters for USD $107,492, and Tai Tzu Ying was picked by defending champions Bengaluru Raptors for USD $104,143.49 in the 2020 season), the duration was also very short.

The 2020 season kicked off on January 20, 2020, and concluded on February 9, 2020. Therefore, playing in PBL is a good way for badminton players to generate some extra income while waiting for the new BWF season to start.

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