Awadhe Warriors is a Premier Badminton League that represents the Indian city of Lucknow. The team is owned by Sahara Adventure Sports Limited and was founded in the year 2013, the same year in which PBL was established. AW have La Martiniere Boys’ College, Lucknow as their school partner. It’s home ground is in Babu Banarasi Das Indoor Stadium, Lucknow. Awadhe Warriors is captained by Ashwini Ponnappa, India’s veteran doubles players. The team is coached by retired Malaysian player Muhammad Hafiz Hashim.
Son Wan Ho (Singles ₹ 70 lakhs)
Ashwini Ponnappa (Double ₹ 32 lakhs)
Mathias Christiansen (Doubles ₹ 37 lakhs)
Lee Yang (Doubles ₹ 31 lakhs)
Beiwen Zhang (Singles ₹ 39 lakhs)
Lee Dong Keun (Singles ₹ 36 lakhs)
Sanyogita Ghorpade (Doubles ₹ 1 lakhs)
Gurusaidutt (Singles ₹ 7 lakhs),
Rasika Raje (Singles ₹ 2 lakhs)
MR Arjun (Doubles ₹ 5 lakhs)
Total Money Spent: ₹ 2.6 crore
Here are the top 5 Awadhe Warriors players to look out for this season:
Son Wan Ho
Son Wan Ho is a World Number 8 Men’s singles player. The South Korean was a targeted of intense bidding war with upto three franchises looking to secure his signature. However, it was Awadhe who got lucky in the draw that followed. Wan Ho has phenomenal skills especially with the defence game. He has been in a prolific form of late, winning gold and silver medal at the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games amongst other accolades. He has also been ranked number one in the past, a position which he successfully defended for over 6 months. Son is quick at detecting the opponents moves and plays by the speed of the game. His is also adept at smacking the shuttle to flabbergast his opponents.
Mathias Christiansen is a highly talented badminton player, and instantly makes the team a lethal attacking force to reckon with. He will be Awadhe Warrior’s frontrunner in the men’s doubles. Christiansen is touted to be one of the most talented utility player in the league. Belonging to Denmark, the 24 year old has won gold at 2016 Thomas Cup, European Championships both in mixed and men’s team event and the 2018 Indian Open. The last title on the Indian soil will give Awadhe Warriors a big hope of clinching double’s matches.
Ashwini Ponnappa has been in a great form in 2018, winning a gold at 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in mixed event. She then went on to partner with Satwiksairaj Rankireddy to win a bronze at the women’s doubles event in the competition.
She brings a much needed experience to the squad. Ashwini’s companionship will also help emerging doubles like Sanyogita Ghorpade and MR Arjun.
Ponnappa was bought for a hefty amount of ₹ 32 lakhs and was amongst the highly payed shuttlers in the doubles department at the PBL auctions. It will be interesting to see how the Awadhe Warriors captain handles the pressure that comes with the throne.
Beiwen Zhang had to shift from China to Singapore at the age of 13. However, after emigrating to the port city, Zhang went on to become country’s top women’s singles player. She had been representing Singapore until 2013, when she reportedly fell out with the national coach, leading her to move yet again to another nation – the USA. However, in spite of all these turbulences, her on field performances have been brilliant. She is considered a specialist in the women’s singles event. This year, she defeated India’s No.1 player, PV Sindhu in her own backyard – the 2018 Indian Open, to win a gold. She was also a runner-up at the 2018 USA and Korea Open. Ranked 12th by BWF, Awadhe Warriors will have high hopes from Beiwen Zhang.
Lee Dong Keun
Lee Dong Keun plies his trade in the badminton men’s singles category. The 23-year-old has been in hot form lately, having already bagged the 2018 Commonwealth Games Mixed event Gold before going on to clinch the US Open title. The 2014 Asiad Gold winner is known for his explosive brand of Badminton. He can take his opponents by surprise by coming up with some stunning shots. Awadhe Warriors will be looking up to the South Korean to help them win matches in the singles category of the Premier Badminton League.