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Having played the sport, Delhi Panzers owner Vineet Bhandari wants to cash in on Handball's potential

Delhi Panzers owner Vineet Bhandari believes that handball has huge potential and PHL will be the perfect catalyst for growth.

Having played the sport, Delhi Panzers owner Vineet Bhandari wants to cash in on Handballs potential

The Bridge Desk

Published: 3 May 2023 7:19 AM GMT

The inaugural edition of the Premier Handball League (PHL) is set to kick off on the 8th of June with six teams raring to fight for the top honors.

Recently, the auction came to a successful close which saw 102 players get berths in the six franchises for the first season of the competition.

India has seen, in recent years, a huge wave of commercialization of different sports, lifting them out of obscurity and giving them a new lease of life, packaged with competitiveness and entertainment.

Sports like Kho-Kho, Kabaddi, and Volleyball have received a positive reaction from fans all across India, and it's time for Handball to go down the same path.

Delhi Panzers is one of the teams in the inaugural season, owned by Vineet Bhandari, someone who is not unknown to the world of franchise-based leagues. After having seen glimpses of a promising future with the Kolkata Thunderbolts of the Prime Volleyball League, he has no reservations regarding handball's future in the country.

"You don't have to be technically correct in every sport, but it (handball) has a very big potential to grow in India. With it being a part of Khelo India and being an Olympic sport, there's a lot of potentials," Vineet told The Bridge.

"Catching something early and young is where my interest remains. I entered volleyball at a very early stage, built it well, we're growing. Now we are catching handball, will grow it for the next two years, and once it starts to self-sustain, we will look at other things that we are working on which will start building in a big way," he added.

Vineet's tryst with the fast-paced handball isn't new. It's a sport that is cemented in nostalgia for the director of RASAV Sports LLP, a discipline that he played during his formative years. According to him, this makes it easier for him to be an owner of a handball team.

"Handball is a sport I have played in the past when I was a child. I used to play state water polo, and in the winter they used to make us play handball. I have played the sport for seven years, so I know what it's about. Once somebody starts playing and understands the rules, it's very easy," he said.

Bhandari is someone who believes in the youth and an aggressive style of play. This underlined their auction strategy which saw the Panzers scoop up some talented players from the huge pool.

"Experience and age matter in certain positions. Our main interest was in players who were actively playing for the past two years and have had game time in their kitty. We targeted the players from the age group of 18-25. Given handball is the fastest summer Olympics sport, we wanted players who are fast and agile," he'd said after the auction.

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