Bangalore, Aug 23: Two Europeans are on a mission to India. They will be seen this weekend at the Sree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium. The duo is in Bangalore for the first time and will promote a new sport in the country - Speed Badminton.
Indians are familiar with badminton but Speed Badminton is a new concept that was invented more than a decade ago in Germany. Now, to attract youngsters to this new addition to the raquet sport, Markus Hellauer, an Austrian and German Jan Gronewald have been specially invited by Indian Badminton League (IBL) franchise Banga Beats.
"We are thrilled to be here in Bangalore. We have a new sport to offer to the fans here," Hellauer told OneIndia in an exclusive interview on Thursday (August 22).
"This is our first visit to India and it has been an amazing experience so far," added Hellauer, who is ranked among the top 20 in the world in Speed Badminton. He currently works in Event and Marketing with "Speedminton" company that manufactures the equipment for the sport.
Thanks to Banga Beats owners - BOP Group, Indian fans will get to see a glimpse of Speed Badminton in Bangalore on August 24, 25 and 29 (semi-finals).
Originally, Hellauer and Gronewald (Team Assistant) were to demonstrate the sport at IBL's opening ceremony in New Delhi. But the plans did not go accordingly and they had wait for more than a week now.
Invented in Germany in 2001 by a sailor, Speed Badminton combines the best elements of three sports, tennis (the court has the size of half a tennis court, so that two Speed Badminton courts fit on one tennis court). Shuttles are called Speeders (smaller and heavier thereby move wind resistant, which allows for long distance play). And the raquet looks similar to a squash/raquetball racquet.
The biggest advantage of this sport is it is for both fun and fitness and can be played anywhere. No net required unlike badminton. In Asia, only South Korea has embraced this sport.
"In Germany we have more than 1,500 players featuring in various Speed Badminton leagues. We have already had two World Championships that had players from more than 40 countries," Hellauer explained.
Gronewald, who is a former tennis player, says that the sport is spreading all over Europe and also has presence in the United States. He is hopeful India too join them.
"I hope we can attract Indian people to this sport. In South Korea, it has started as a leisure sport. We will explore China market as well," said Gronewald.
If you are in Bangalore, head to Sree Kanteerava Stadium to not only witness top-flight IBL action but also some Speed Badminton.
Watch the photo slide show to know more about Speed Badminton.
Europeans on a mission
Europeans Jan Gronewald (left) and Markus Hellauer will show Indian fans how to play Speed Badminton. They will be at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bangalore this weekend and again on August 29. Picture: Aprameya .C
This is how it is played
The court will be of 5.5X5.5 metres boxes (2) separated by a distance of 12.80 metres. There is no net.
Speeder or the Shuttle
Speeder is smaller and heavier, thereby more wind resistant which allows for long distance play.
You can play at night too with this Night Speeder, which has a clear cap that illuminates in the dark.
This the raquet used for Speed Badminton. It is available in aluminum, graphite and kevlar (synthetic fibre).
Action from World Championship
A general view of the second World Championship of Speed Badminton this year in Germany.