The FIR are very excited to be working closely with the recently formed Racketlon India Sports Association (RISA) and their President Mr K. Cheema, who visited the World Championships in Zurich in August.
During his visit to Zurich Mr K.Cheema met with a number of the FIR Council and also made a short presentation at the FIR AGM about RISA’s plans to develop Racketlon in India over the next few years. Mr K.Cheema also brought with him to Zurich RISA’s main promoter and sponsor, Mr Krishna Kotak who is chairman of J.M. Baxi Group of Companies and who has been a great help and inspiration to everything that RISA have done and will continue to do for Racketlon in India.
The potential for Racketlon in India is huge. Racket sports in India are growing rapidly in popularity: the World Junior Squash Championships were held in India this year and India is currently seen as one of squash’s biggest growing markets. Likewise in Table Tennis, huge success at the 2018 Commonwealth Games saw Table Tennis reach new heights of exposure and national awareness but it is with badminton that there has been a complete transformation.
Ever since P V Sindu won the Olympic silver medal at the 2016 Olympics – the first ever Olympic medal (silver or gold) won by an Indian woman – she has been on a path to stardom and is now idolised in India. This year she was the 7th highest earning sportswoman in the world! (Read more HERE). Having one of the most recognisable sports stars in the whole of India, the profile of badminton has rocketed as a result.
This increase in profile and awareness of sports which were previously just seen as fringe sports means that there is now a very exciting platform from which a new sport like Racketlon can grow and in a country of the size and scale of India, it’s a very exciting possibility.
RISA has been making contacts at a number of different venues where there are the option for Racketlon tournaments to be held and a recent meeting with the committee of one of the most prestigious clubs in the whole of India: the Cricket Club of India (CCI) in Mumbai has resulted in the CCI embracing the concept of Racketlon where they will hold a tournament this November for their members (the club has over 10,000 members!). Read more HERE
Fantastic facilities for all 4 Racketlon sports and with members who already regularly play a number of the sports, the tournament this November at one of India’s most influential clubs could well open a lot of possibilities for the development of Racketlon in India.
RISA’s plans are to develop more of these local tournaments over the next 12 months, whilst increasing the media awareness of Racketlon before hopefully sending another team of players to the next World Championships. FIR will also continue to give Mr K. Cheema and his team all the support they need: use of Tournament Software as well as advice about the logistics and running of tournaments, which will hopefully culminate in RISA being able to host their first ever World Tour event within one to two years, so that the worldwide Racketlon community can also soon experience the thrill of playing in India.
And maybe the final piece to the puzzle is that India now also have a genuine new Racketlon star. Mr Ashutosh Pednekar traveled to compete at this year’s World Championships in Zurich in both the over 45’s seniors category as well as in the Men’s B. In a very competitive over 45’s competition, Pednekar came through some very good, experienced players from Finland, Great Britain, Switzerland and the Czech Republic to deservedly take India’s first ever Racketlon World Championships title and it’s already creating quite a stir among the Indian media…and in the Men’s B, Pednekar battled all the way through to the semi-finals where he lost to the eventual winner from Denmark, but a 3rd place finish was still a remarkable result.
With a player like Ashutosh Pednekar to inspire others, Indian Racketlon is in good hands!
Duncan Stahl / FIR Executive President