History on History TV: How Lakshya Sen's All England Open final oddly, has the perfect stage
The All England Open 2022 men's singles finals featuring Lakshya Sen and Viktor Axelsen will be aired on History TV 18 - a non-sports channel but symbolically fit for the history at stake.
There was quite the hullaballoo with frantic tweets, desperate refreshing, curious surfing and clever spy work doing the rounds when badminton broadcast in India shifted camps from Star Sports Network to that of Reliance-owned Viacom18, in a major change.
With most of this cloud of confusion diffusing soon enough while we reached the quarter-finals of the German Open 2022 last week and live streaming of badminton moving from Hotstar to Voot and Jio TV now, another curious thing surfaced.
During the ongoing All England Open 2022, the matches started showing on television but instead of regular, run-of-the-mill sports channels, it had transferred itself to the History TV 18. Well, History TV 18 isn't alone, the badminton matches are also being aired live on VH1 and MTV - chiefly music and entertainment channels.
Quite the oddity, you say?
Perhaps, yes, but given the historic run that our Indian badminton stars have had - thanks to Lakshya Sen and the women's doubles pair of Gayatri Gopichand and Treesa Jolly, we can hardly complain as long as badminton fans are satiated with the sight of their favourite stars ripping the smashes.
However, in reality, Viacom18, the new owners of the broadcast rights of BWF matches in India do not possess a sports channel currently and therefore one cannot find the badminton matches in any of the dropdown suggestions on their television under the 'Sports' channels section.
Something symbolic is in the air
The past two weeks of badminton has been incredible for Indian badminton fans and a large part of it is because of Lakshya Sen and his heroics. The 20-year-old boy from Almora, Uttarkhand is rewriting the history books and fast!
Right from the beginning of 2022 itself, Sen has been shining with a brilliant form, powered on by the bronze from the World Championships in 2021. Winning the India Open Super 500 to reaching the finals of the German Open 2022 last week and now making his way into the All England Open 2022 finals - and becoming the youngest and the first Indian man to reach the singles final in 21 years, Sen is poised for history.
Lakshya Sen will need to face off against Denmark's World No. 1 and reigning Olympic champion, Viktor Axelsen in the title clash and will bid to end the title drought India has faced at this BWF Super 1000 tournament in Birmingham. If that isn't a stage for history-making, what is? Symbolically enough, History TV 18 will be broadcasting the match as this transpires - making this anomaly of a non-sports channel showcasing the event seem all the more special.
The All England has always been a stiff test for our Indian shuttlers - the last time an Indian went close to getting their hands on the title was Saina Nehwal in 2015 but even that didn't pan out with a victory. Flash forward seven years, we see Sen, on his debut, go the full length, with a maturity too wise for his 20-year-old being, contesting edge-of-the-seat thrillers and that is nothing short of another oddity in itself. But a welcome oddity, by all means.
Let's make some history and hope the odds are always in our favour.
Here's where you can watch the All England Open 2022:
The finals of the All England Open 2022 will take place from 5:30 PM IST on 20th March 2022.
The Men's Singles Final between Viktor Axelsen and Lakshya Sen will take place at around 9:00 PM IST approximately.
The matches will be telecasted live on VH1, MTV and History TV 18 HD channels.
The matches can be live-streamed on Voot Select, Jio TV and BWF TV Youtube.