Marin's Hunters wary of Premier Badminton League newcomers North East Warriors

File Photo:PBL
Sportingindia.com|24-Dec-2017 12:45

Guwahati, December 22: Hyderabad Hunters are not willing to take debutants North East Warriors lightly in their opening Vodafone Premier Badminton League match at the Karmabir Nabin Chandra Bordoloi Indoor Stadium here on Sunday.
 
Spanish sensation Carolina Marin spearheads the Hunters campaign and the Olympic champion is keen on improving upon their last season's top-four finish.
 
"I'm looking forward to our first match against the North East Warriors. We are keen to do better than last season, although it will not be easy as the competition is very tough," said the former world No1 on Saturday.
 
The 24-year-old is aware that her team will be looking to her for inspiration and she is confident of delivering the goods. "I will try to get maximum points and help my team," she said.
 
Hyderabad Hunters' coach Fernando Rivas has set the goals higher this season. "We have prepared the best possible way to get a better position this year," he said. "Ever since the season ended last year, we were keen to come back to the PBL because it is the most exciting competition we play, so we are looking forward to start tomorrow," he added.
 
 
The Spaniard, who has a coaching experience of 13 years and has been responsible in shaping up Marin's career, is quite impressed at the manner in which PBL is developing the Indian players, particulary the 17-year-old Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, who has shown remarkable improvement since the last PBL season. 
 
"The Indian players have come up really well since the PBL started. Satwik has developed a lot in the last season. I'm confident he will reach the top level," 
 
The Hunters men's singles campaign will be led by Sai Praneeth and Korean veteran Lee while Satwiksairaj and Yoo Yeon of Korea are a formidable doubles pair.
 
The spotlight may be on Hyderabad Hunters on Sunday but the North East Warriors are eager to put up a strong display in front of their home fans.
 
Their men's singles charge is led by Tzu Wei Wang of Chinese Taipei and Ajay Jayaram, who has featured in two finals turning out for Delhi and Mumbai teams in the past.  Canadian Michelle Li in women's singles also has the potential to pull off a few surprises.
 
Jayaram is confident of the North East Warriors putting up a good show this season.. "We are a new team but that will not come in the way of our performances. We know there will be no easy matches and we are prepared for it," he said on the eve of their first match. "The confidence level is quite high and we are ready to take on the Hyderabad Hunters," he added.
 
The Vodafone Premier Badminton League is held under the aegis of the Badminton Association of India and is organised by Sportzlive, the official licensee partner of the league. It has already acquired the tag 
 
of being one of the richest badminton leagues with the teams battling for a total prize money of INR 6 crore.
 
KEY HIGHLIGHTS OF THE LEAGUE
8 current World Championship medalists
9 Olympic Medalists (including three multiple medal winners)
World No. 1 in both Men's singles and Women's singles
Prize Money: INR 6 Cr
Duration of tournament: 23 days
High footfall and stadium attendance Last year gate revenue was close to  1.4 cr.
 
SUNDAY’S FIXTURE: North East Warriors vs Hyderabad Hunters
 
THE SQUADS
Hyderabad Hunters: Men's singles: Lee Hyun il (Kor), Sai Praneeth, Rahul Yadav. Women's singles: Carolina Marin (Esp), Rasika Raje. Men's doubles: Lu Ching Yao (Tpe), Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Yoo Yeon Seong (Kor),Pratul, Rahul Yadav. Women's doubles: Pia Zebadiah (Idn), Anoushka Parikh. Coach: Fernando Rivas
North East Warriors: Men's singles: Ajay Jayaram, Pratul Joshi, Tzu Wei Wang (Tpe). Women's singles: Michelle Li (Can), Ruthvika Shivani. Men's doubles: Chiraag Shetty, Shin Baek Cheol (Kor), Kim Gi Jung (Kor), Pratul Joshi. Women's doubles: Prajakta Sawant, Sanyogita Ghorpade. Coach – Nikhil Kanetkar