Sahara ropes in former All England champ as IBL coach

New Delhi, July 21 (IANS) Sahara India, owners of the Lucknow Warriors, have roped in former All England Champion Muhammad Hafiz Hashim of Malaysia as a coach for the upcoming Indian Badminton League (IBL).

"I am really happy to be a part of this Indian Badminton League. I am always happy to see when the sport is being promoted be it anywhere in the world," the 30-year-old Hashim told IANS Sunday.

"In Asia, we have a few badminton leagues like in Indonesia, China and now we have the IBL in India. This is really good for badminton because this may lead to more leagues being created in Malaysia or Singapore and more countries will follow."

"There is a lot of money on offer and the players are really looking forward to play in the league," said Hashim, who won the All England Open 10 years back in 2003.

However, Hashim, who also has two Commonwealth Games gold medals, rued the absence of the Chinese shuttlers.

"The Chinese have their own national games, so I guess the timing was not suitable. This is only the first year, if the league is successful, who knows they may turn up for next year," he said.

Olympian Aparna Popat, a 10-time national champion, has been hired as the Mumbai Masters' coach for the league which will be held Aug 14-31.

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