Bangalore, Aug 24: Indian Badminton League's (IBL) Bangalore debut was a super hit. Despite rain, fans came in good numbers to support Mumbai Masters and Awadhe Warriors on Saturday night at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium.
Till the last day there were concerns over the readiness of the stadium. But all those fears were put to rest as the organisers set the stage up for a fine performance to unfold from the players.
Between the two, first came Sindhu and she did not disappoint. Sindhu, who won the bronze medal at the recently concluded World Championships in Guangzhou had the crowd behind her. Chants of Sindhu, Sindhu, Sindhu went on during her 21-12, 19-21, 11-8 victory over Tine Baun. It was the first time that Sindhu had won against the Danish great.
The tickets were sold out for the games but the stadium was not full to the capacity. With over 2,000 fans welcoming IBL's entry into Bangalore, it was enough for the day. Come Sunday, it will be packed with the home team - Banga Beats in action against Krrish Delhi Smashers.
"We love Saina but today it's Lee," read a poster in one of the stands. Yes, the Bangalore fans were keen to watch the Malaysian here, who was plying his trade in the city for the first time.
Lee won the first game 21-15 but his opponent K Srikanth was not going to go down without a fight. He bounced back to take the second 21-20 after a thrilling game. Srikanth's strokes were also well appreciated by the spectators.
Such was Srikanth's response to the world number one that he started to gain more support. In the deciding game, Lee showed who the master of the sport is as he waltzed to 11-5 success.
With no air-conditioning at the stadium, it did not hamper Lee's play. With rains cooling the temperatures, Lee went Sindhu's way in winning the hearts of the people.
Just after the win the stadium's giant screens flashed youngsters waving the Malaysian flag. They kept jumping in joy at Lee's victory.
As he signed off with a win, Lee did not forget to say a Big Thank You to the fans.
At the end of the day it was Warriors who triumphed 3-2 against the Warriors. But the real winners were Lee, Sindhu and the badminton loving people of Bangalore.