Mi$$ed chances

Waiting for the return: Liew Daren and Chan Peng Soon (inset) say the Premier Badminton League organisers offered good prize money and took good care of the players.

PETALING JAYA: Independent shuttlers Chan Peng Soon and Liew Daren are ruing their misfortunes as they set to lose thousands of ringgit with the cancellation of the Premier Badminton League (PBL) in India.

The duo are already feeling the financial pinch following the Covid-19 pandemic as unlike their more lucky compatriots from the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) who are still getting their monthly allowances, these professionals have to rely on tournament prize money as their main source of income.

Mixed doubles ace Peng Soon and singles player Daren were supposed to feature in the lucrative PBL again this year but the sixth season that was supposed to start this month, has been postponed to next year.

Peng Soon and Daren had both played in the fifth edition which took place in January and February this year.

Peng Soon, who made his debut, was instrumental in steering Bengaluru Raptors to a successful title defence while Daren had finished fifth with the Hyderabad Hunters in the seven-team league.

Daren had reportedly earned a pre-tax 3.3mil rupees (RM182,000) pay cheque from the last edition while Peng Soon took home a cool 3mil rupees (RM165,000).

Daren said the hosts did not only pay well but they took care of the players well.

“It’s a well-organised league with a massive following. The team take good care of the players too, ” said Daren.

“I’ve played in three seasons (the first being in 2013), so it’s a shame that this year’s event is postponed no thanks to the coronavirus.

“I’ve never done well thus far, it would be great to help my team finish top three.

“If I’m invited next year, I will play without a doubt, ” said Daren, who was also paid 3.3mil rupees when he played for Viktor Axelsen-powered Ahmedabad Smash Masters in the 2018-19 season.

Peng Soon admitted the Covid-19 had affected their livelihood.

“As professionals, we are dependent on income from this league and other tournaments in the international circuit to survive. It’s unfortunate, the Covid-19 had turned the badminton world upside down.”

“I had a memorable outing when we won the title with my team earlier this year, ” said Peng Soon, who is looking forward to the next year’s edition.

Besides Peng Soon, the other Malaysian shuttlers who have won the PBL before were Goh V Shem-Lim Khim Wah (Hyderabad Hotshots in 2013) and Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong (Delhi Dashers in 2016).

The PBL organisers are hoping to stage the league in the middle of next year.

“We are hoping to host the event between the Olympics and the end of the last qualifying event in (early) May, ” PBL managing director Prasad Mangipudi told Press Trust of India.

“Then we can get some key players, including the Tokyo-bound players, who may take this event as a match practice ahead of the Games as one is guaranteed to have five to six matches in this event.”

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