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PHL will succeed because of handball's nature: Garvit Gujarat owner

Having been involved with handball for 45 years, Roop Kumar Naidu believes the entertaining nature of the sport will help PHL do better than some other franchise leagues.

PHL will succeed because of handballs nature: Garvit Gujarat owner

The Bridge Desk

Updated: 7 May 2023 3:14 PM GMT

One of the questions about the Premier Handball League (PHL) with a month to go before the first season is how it shall compare to the many other franchise leagues which have come up in India in the past few years.

Roop Kumar Naidu, the owner of Garvit Gujarat, one of the six teams in the league, is confident that the PHL will attract more popularity than some of the other leagues because of the inherent nature of the sport of handball - the fastest Summer Olympics sport.

"I am from the grassroots of this sport, I know the pulse of handball. It is the fastest team sport in the Olympics. The sport is very thrilling, it requires stamina, agility, flexibility, explosive power, jump, ability to take body contact. This will be one of the most successful leagues because of the dynamics of handball. It's thrilling, everyone will enjoy it," he said ahead of the PHL season.

Having been involved with the sport of handball - first as a player and then as a sports administrator at SAI - for the last five decades, the Garvit Gujarat owner is excited at the prospect of a franchise league in his sport.

"Global leagues like the IPL, and PKL offer a platform of a different level. Not only to the players but also to coaches, sponsors, and management. Earlier in my time, it was only the federation promoting the sport, that had limited exposure," said Naidu, a former international who was part of the Indian handball team's first foreign competition back in 1979.

"During my time, I got a call-up to the India side after I won the gold medal with Maharashtra as a 14-year-old. Long after my retirement, a global league has come up. I view this league in a different light, but what I am sure of is that the PHL will be a raging success," he added.

Naidu got the opportunity to be involved with the Gujarat franchise as the last part of his tenure as administrator was at the SAI Gujarat centre, where handball is one of the few team sports which are played extensively. He promoted the national handball team as well as the Gujarat handball team at the SAI centre there. When the PHL came along, his experience of handball and sports administration made him an automatic choice.

"Everybody got the teams they wanted at the auction. All the best players were picked. Surprisingly, the junior players were taken much more enthusiastically by all the teams," he said.

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