Badminton: Indian Badminton League kicks off without Chinese superstars like Lin Dan
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Indian organisers hope the absence of China's superstars will not take the shine off a new US$1 million (S$1.3 million) badminton league, which players and officials believe will grow the game and help foster future Olympic medallists.
The franchise-based Indian Badminton League kicks off in New Delhi on Wednesday and organisers hope it will generate the same kind of commercial success enjoyed by the country's money-spinning Twenty20 cricket competition, the Indian Premier League.
The six-team badminton league held a player auction last month, and world No.1 Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia was bought by the Mumbai franchise for US$135,000, while Pune bought women's world No.2 Juliane Schenk of Germany for US$90,000.
Notable absentees were Chinee shuttlers such as double Olympic gold medallist Lin Dan, men's world No.2 Chen Long and women's world No.1 Li Xuerui.