IBL launches school badminton programme

New Delhi, May 31 (IANS) The Indian Badminton League School Programme (IBLSP) Friday launched 'Shuttle Express', the biggest school championship to promote the sport across India.

Under IBLSP, badminton icons like Olympic medallist Saina Nehwal, former all-England champion Pullela Gopichand, Jwala Gutta, Ashwini Ponnappa, Parupalli Kashyap and P.V. Sindhu will visit school campuses across India to promote badminton and encourage around five lakh students from more than 120 schools in six different cities.

The 'Shuttle Express' will offer Rs.10 lakh in prize money to the winners in both the boys and girls singles events. The events will be held in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Lucknow and Pune. The finalists will also be given an opportunity to train at the Pullela Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad.

The programme will be held in three phases to scout talent and will be an intra-school competition July 12-14 while the national finals will be conducted in Mumbai Aug 28-31.

Speaking about Shuttle Express, president of Badminton Association of India (BAI) Akhilesh Das Gupta said: "As a former player who benefited enormously from an active school environment for badminton, I am confident that Shuttle Express will provide a great platform and opportunity to thousands of badminton-loving children to fulfill their aspirations and motivate them to take the sport as a career."

Shuttler Saina Nehwal said: "It is nice to see that badminton as a sport is being promoted among kids. Shuttle Express will not only generate huge interest amongst the young but also give them the opportunity to get their talent recognised."

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