This is where it apparently began! A cradle of Indian renaissance in the pre-Independence days, Pune is considered to be the birth place of badminton by millions of fans. The city, an erstwhile stronghold of the great Maratha Empire, has a karmic connection to badminton and would find a place in any badminton league with the kind of passionate following it has for the sport.Pune Pistons, the city team participating in the path-breaking Indian Badminton League, will be watched closely by both home fans and badminton maven alike. Their IBL campaign hits the road against another traditional badminton bastion, Awadhe Warriors, on August 14. The Pistons have a grinding itinerary, followed by a series of matches against title contenders Hyderabad Hoshots and Mumbai Masters in quick succession.The stakes will be high for Pune Pistons to clinch the inaugural IBL title. Here is why: Arguably, badminton was first played in Poona around 1870 and the very first rules of the sport were formed in Poona. For a long time, badminton was referred to as ‘Poona Game’. According to some accounts, the British soldiers who used to play here, started playing the same on their return at Gloucestershire County. The Duke of Beaufort from the town of Badminton helped to promote the game, and the sport was therefore called ‘Badminton’ as a salute to his contribution. Apparently, the sport spread to other parts of England, Germany and other parts of the world.Pune has a lineage of producing world-class badminton talent, starting from Nandu Natekar, arguably the first Indian badminton icon of the 1950s and the first Indian to win an international title outside the country, to Olympian Nikhil Kanetkar, who representated India in the 2004 Games in the men’s singles, current National women’s single champion and gifted strokeplayer, Sayali Gokhale and several upcoming ones. The IBL will be great platform for aspiring shuttlers from Pune to make a mark and play against the best in the business.
Tipped to be the team with the most die-hard fans in the IBL, the Pune Pistons will be supported by their loyal ‘IBL School Programme Partner’, Symbiosis Primary & Secondary School students during the League.
Keep the faith Pune Pistons fans! Support your team!
Pune Pistons campaign schedule: