New Delhi, 28 March: The ambitious Indian Taekwondo Premier League (TPL) was launched here with the promise of transforming the sport in the country and grooming international champions.
The franchise-model league to be held in Delhi in June has already found takers in Hyderabad, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Assam, Delhi, Bengaluru, Dehradun, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal, Chennai and Gujarat.
Taekwondo Grandmasters Jun Lee and Moon Dae Sung, a World, Olympic and Asian Champion, hailed the TPL as a path-breaker while addressing a power-packed audience, including 400 players, during the launch.
“There are 10 lakh registered players in the country, making it one of the more popular sports in India. The top players will get the opportunity to hone their skills at the highest level and I am sure India will soon see an Olympic medal winner,” Moon Dae Sung said.
Taekwondo, which finds its origins in South Korea and is a form of martial art that involves kicking and punching, is practiced by over 20 million athletes in about 200 countries and is an Olympic sport.
“This is the start of a new chapter, a new era actually, in taekwondo. We have been working on this for the last two years and are delighted to see so many entrepreneurs and business houses interested in backing the sport,” Ganesh Duvvuri, GK Venkat and Navneeta, Founder Directors, said.
An international panel led by Grand Master Jun Lee, the TPL Commissioner, Master Kim Chang Kwon, Chief TPL Coach, ad Moon Dae Sung will pick the players from selection trials to be held in 12 cities. The mentors and coaches for each team have already been identified.
“The TPL will be played out for the first time in a team format, with each team boasting five top players. We have also restricted ourselves to the 58.1kg-67.9kg category to keep the competition fast and thrilling,” Mr Ganesh, the Founder Director, said.
“Apart from providing a world-class platform, the selected players will get the best coaching and training. Attractive prize money will be on offer along with individual awards all through the League,” GK Venkat added.
Among the franchise owners who attended the launch ceremony were: Sristi Rana (Haryana Hunters), A Venkat Reddy, Raja (Hyderabad Gliders), Vijay Kumar Bhansali (Gujarat Thunders), Ruchita Mittal (Maharashtra Avengers), R K Gupta ( Delhi Warriors), TL Rao, Mohd. Raees (Rajasthan Rebels).