With a total cash prize of Rs 2,30,000, six teams from across Nagaland are competing at the ongoing tournament which will conclude on May 31

Kohima: In a first for Nagaland, shuttlers from across the state came under one roof to compete at the 1st Nagaland Premier Badminton League 2019, which got underway at the Indoor Badminton Stadium in Kohima on Wednesday.

Organised by the Nagaland Badminton Club (NBC) under the aegis of the Nagaland Badminton Association (NBA), the tournament strictly abides by the prescribed rules of the Badminton World Federation and the Badminton Association of India.

Addressing the inaugural ceremony, Joseph Sumi, general secretary of the NBC, said that the league was organised to provide a “perfect platform” for both the young players and veterans “to exhibit their badminton skills”. Besides promoting the sport, Sumi said that it aims “to establish a system of sustenance of badminton within the state”.

Depending on the proficiency of the sport, the players are classified under Alpha, Beta and Gamma categories. Players who have represented the state at the Northeast region or national level for three consecutive years or have participated during the last three years, falls under Alpha. Beta players are those who have represented their respective districts in the last four years. Gamma players are the amateurs or state/district players who have not played during the last four years.

Players attentively listening to the advice shared by the team coach, minutes before the tournament began

In his address, Kohima deputy commissioner Anoop Khinchi acknowledged the organisers for providing a platform towards professional badminton in Nagaland. Khinchi asserted on how Nagas have the “natural advantage” in terms of talents and physical advantage despite the “difficult terrain”. Suggesting that the sport should “work scientifically” through proper channel from professional coaching to mentoring, Khinchi urged the players to apply the spirit of “sportsmanship” in one’s life by never giving up in life.

Classified under singles, doubles and mixed doubles, the age breakouts for the plays are: U-15 for boys (single), U-17 girls (single), U-19 boys (doubles), men’s single, men’s doubles, mixed doubles open for women and for men above 40 years, and finally men’s 85+ (doubles).

Ruvehu Murao (11) of Panama Shuttlers, Mon is the youngest player of the tournament. Similarly, Yekhuvi Achumi, 53, from Panama Shuttlers, Mon is the oldest competitor in the tournament.

The competing teams are: All Beats Kohima, Beits Badminton (Kohima), Kohima Smashers, Panama Shuttlers (Mon), Raging Phoenix (Kohima) and Shuttle Rockers (Dimapur).

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