Reckoned by experts as the world’s greatest men’s singles player Lin Dan will not be seen in action in the inaugural edition of the Indian Badminton League.
Dan was the top-notch player in the World championship held in Hyderabad in 2009.
A two-time Olympic gold medallist and five-time World championship winner, the left handed Chinese known as ‘Super Dan’ has had a phenomenal run in the last 11 years, winning 21 individual and team gold medals spread across six major events.
The Chinese players, according to the legendary Prakash Padukone, will be missed. The other prominent world class Chinese players like Chen Long, Du Pengyu and Wang Zhenming among men and Li Xuerui, Wang Yihan and Wang Shixian among women complete the list of absentees.
Uday Pawar, a three-time national doubles winner with Pradeep Gandhe, Ravi Kunte and Vinod Kumar and a distinguished coach said: “Lin Dan is a class act. The presence of Chinese players in the IBL would have given the tournament a big push.
“But the Chinese are smart; they will not let their top players stay away from home for two-and-a-half weeks for a franchise-format tournament. “The establishment draws the schedule for the Chinese players.
“Also, they will not allow their training and practice secrets to be known to others. Once you are part of the franchise team, you have to train and practice with the others including the Indian juniors. This just cannot happen.”
The likes of Han Jian and Luan Jin have played in India and more recently a number of Chinese players like Yuekun Chen, Wang Zhengming and Chen Jin among men and Li Xuerui, Jian Yanjiao, Yao Xue, Wang Shixian have entertained the Indians during the India Open held in the last three years.
Abhinn Shyam Gupta, who won the national singles title in 2001 and 2002 felt that the Chinese would have made the competition electrifying. “Their speed, endurance and fast approach to the net makes them splendid players to watch. They are light on their feet on the court.
Speed on court
“If the Indians move at 90kmph on the court, the Chinese would move at around 130kmph.
“The juniors would have learnt a lot from them. Hopefully an IBL with a bigger prize money and auction would appeal to them. They don’t get paid well at home, so they migrate to other countries,” said Gupta.
Seven-time women’s national singles champion Ami Shah (nee Ghia) said: “I don’t think the IBL will be poorer by the absence of the Chinese. Of course, they would have proved to be stiff opponents and added value to the competition. But this is the inaugural year of the IBL and I don’t think the value of the tournament would get diminished in any way.”
Danish legend Morten Frost said before the London Olympics that the Chinese players are not overwhelmingly superior and rationalised his argument by pointing out the success achieved by Lee Chong Wei, Peter Gade and Taufik Hidayat.