The Padukone Sports Management (PSM) founded by Indian badminton legend Prakash Padukone and Vimal Kumar to popularise badminton in the nation, recently hosted one of India's biggest grassroots badminton tournaments - The PSM Open Juniors Tournament between 2nd and 3rd October.
The tournament that exceeded every expectation saw a whopping 812 entries from all over India in 14 categories in the junior level, particularly in U-15, U-16, U-17 and U-19 age group of boys and girls. The two-day grand celebration of the badminton saw the venue Padukone-Dravid Centre for Sports Excellence occupied to its full capacity.
The tournament received immense praise from players as well as parents, as many could display their mettle on the court after staying indoors for a prolonged period. It was held attuned with the vision of the Padukone Sports Management — making badminton accessible to everyone and to the grassroots level.
Players in action at the PSM Open Juniors Tournament
The tournament was not only live-streamed on the PSM website, but it also got featured in the Jio Set-top box that fetched 15,000 views across four channels. This was undoubtedly one of the first grassroots tournaments that were live-streamed in India.
Lakshmi Vyshak, the runners-up at the U-17 boy's doubles category said, "The tournament went extremely well. The courts and facilities provided to us were one of the best in India. I enjoyed my heart out. I played three matches to go to the final. I am from Andhra Pradesh. Everyone was very serious about the sport. I'll take part in the U-15 and U-17 Singles at the nationals."
The action unfurled for the entire two days featuring a total of 773 matches from where 42 winners and runners-up emerged successfully. Prateek Kaundaliya became a cynosure of all eyes in the tournament by winning in both the won U-13 and U-15 in the boy's singles category. India's emerging badminton star Lakshya Sen, who is mentored by Vimal Kumar, was present to distribute the prizes among the winners.
The energy and passion on display were exemplary and was much needed for transitioning to a safer environment for athletes to compete.