Pune: Commonwealth Games doubles gold Medallist Jwala Gutta launched the Indian Badminton League's School Programme initiative –-Shuttle Express' Pune leg at the Symbiosis Vishwabhavan School, on Wednesday.

The city will be held under the aegis of the Pune District Metropolitan Badminton Association on July 18-19 and will showcase students from schools in Pune, who will vie for the titles in both the boys and girls singles categories in the city leg. The city winners will play the National Finals during the forthcoming IBL in August.

"I am really happy to be here with the kids who are playing not only to win the Shuttle Express but to be the next badminton champion for India," Jwala said.

"Wishing everyone all the best and I know the Pune participants will make everyone proud," she added.

Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu and Ashwini Ponnappa had launched the New Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai leg of the tournament, respectively.

Speaking on Shuttle Express, Badminton Association of India (BAI) President Dr Akhilesh Das Gupta, said, "It gives us immense joy and pride to introduce the Shuttle Express, to lakhs of students across the country. We hope the effort taken by our badminton icons and stars to visit schools in six cities will inspire many youngsters to take up the sport."

The IBL is an initiative of BAI with Sporty Solutionz as the Commercial Partner. Speaking on the occasion, Ashish Chadha, CEO, Sporty Solutionz, said: "The reason behind launching the Shuttle Express is to boost the young talent at grass root level. The overwhelming response from the schools and children gives us the confidence that Shuttle Express will give India its next champion shuttler.

"We take this opportunity to thank our IBL School Partner for Hyderabad- Indus World School for their support for this initiative. Shuttle Express in Delhi & Mumbai has got over and we have got the winners who will be playing during the upcoming Indian Badminton League."

(Agencies)

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