Olympic champion Carolina Marin with the kids she trained while attempting a Guinness record for the largest combined badminton lesson at Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy in Hyderabad on Wednesday Photo: Ch Prabhu Das
Hyderabad: Seeing hundreds of starry-eyed young boys and girls bubbling with enthusiasm at the Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy (PGBA) in one go is not unusual a sight. This is almost like a regular feature, which becomes more colourful during the exclusive coaching camps conducted during the summer holidays. However, there was something uniquely unusual when nearly 400 kids each with typical badminton gear arrived at the Academy on Wednesday.
They had a date with history and the tryst ensured that each would be at their sporting best. After all, they were to play alongside the best of the contemporary lot-Carolina Marin Thanks to ‘Play The Pros @PBL 2018’, a initiative pioneered by GSK Consumer Healthcare major Boost, the youngsters were treated to practical lessons under Marin, who turned their opponent across the net for whatever time spent in the court. The fortunate youngsters, who came from all over South India got an opportunity to learn, interact and rub shoulders with the Olympic champion as also the top players from Boost-sponsored PBL franchise Hyderabad Hunters like Sai Praneeth and Satwik Sairaj.
The occasion was equally vibrant. Boost attempted a Guinness Record for the conduct of the largest badminton lesson with a participation of more than 400 young champions. Noticeably delighted at the turn-out, Vikram Bahl, Area Marketing Lead, Nutrition & Digestive health, GSK Consumer Healthcare India, said, “We are overwhelmed with the participation that the activity witnessed and confident that initiatives like’ Play the Pros’ will inspire more and more youngsters to emulate their badminton heroes. The best performers here will enjoy sponsorship for enrolling as trainees at PGBA.”
Marin, the Hyderabad Hunters ace said, “I think Boost Play the Pros is a wonderful initiative and we need more such initiatives to groom the emerging badminton talent from a young age. Hyderabad Hunters are happy to be associated with this initiative.”
Forget the limited opportunity they got to play Marin what is paramount is that to those kids this was their momentous day since taking to badminton. Gopichand said such exercises would inspire the next generation of shuttlers, which is a good augury for Indian badminton.