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Badminton league GPBL postponed after top players drop out under BAI pressure

Mithun Manjunath and Sai Praneeth, two of the top buys at the GPBL auction, pulled out of the league after BAI warned players from taking part.

Toma Junior Popov and Mithun Manjunath Badminton

Toma Junior Popov and Mithun Manjunath (File Photo)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 27 Aug 2023 3:08 PM GMT

The Grand Prix Badminton League's second season was postponed indefinitely after top players pulled out under pressure from the Badminton Association of India (BAI) to not take part in the private league.

"In an unprecedented turn of events, players’ participation in the Grand Prix Badminton league had been met with immense resistance, through tactics that sought to instill fear and alarm. While the Honourable High Court of Karnataka’s order explicitly permitted players to play in the League, the players faced pressure and intimidation tactics from the Badminton Association of India. Keeping the best interests of the players in mind, the Season 2 of GPBL is postponed," the promoters of the league said in a press release.

Mithun Manjunath and Sai Praneeth, two of the top players in the GPBL auction this year, pulled out of the league following a circular by BAI.

The Indian badminton association had initially sent out a circular asking Indian players to refrain from participation, but the GBPL committee managed to secure an interim go-ahead from the Karnataka High Court.

Later, BAI stated that the petition wasn't judged on merit and that the association would be free to take retrospective action against participating players.

Prashanth Reddy, Commissioner GPBL, said: “It is a sad day not only for badminton but for sports in India in general. The essence of sports lies in fairness, competition, and the empowerment of athletes. Threatening the players with dire consequences even after the various orders of the court is very brazen."

While the second season of the GPBL had drawn interest from some Indian players and foreign players, some of the top Indian players, including PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth, Ashwini Ponappa, Sai Praneeth, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, HS Prannoy, Chirag Shetty and Jwala Gutta, had been associated with different teams as mentors in the first edition.

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