Pickleball continues its expansion across the world and is a thing in India as well with over 3,000 players registered to play the sport. Now director and film writer Shashank Khaitan, 41, has joined forces with the Meghashrey NGO (non-governmental organization) to host The Global Sports Pickleball Championship Tournament in the country.
“The Item Queen”
The Meghashrey NGO was founded by social entrepreneur and actress Seema Singh, 31, who is nicknamed the “Item Queen” for her appearances in over 500 films.
This championship is a great chance for all Indian picklers to experience top-quality tournament pickleball firsthand and pit their wits against other top players from India.
Khaitan has commented, “We are thrilled to promote Pickleball in India and provide an opportunity for sports enthusiasts to showcase their skills. We believe this championship will help promote the sport in India and inspire more people to take up pickleball. It gives me immense pleasure to organize a tournament of such stature and hope to see the game grow in India”.
Singh added, “We are proud to be presenting the Global Sports Pickleball Championship and excited to encourage this sport in India. We aim to make this championship a grand success and pave the way for more such events in the future”.
Global Sports Company
Global Sports Company has been organizing pickleball tournaments, academics, and coaching camps for the past year and their efforts have now culminated in this national championship that will take place in the city of Mumbai from May 5 to 7.
Registration for the tournament is already open. There will be a total purse of 1 million Rupees, which is just over $12,000.
Sunil Sadanand Valavalkar, 59, is widely credited with introducing pickleball to India after experiencing the sport in Canada in 1999. After returning to Canada for a second time in 2006, he took some paddles and ball back with him and started promoting the game in his hometown of Mumbai (formerly Bombay). The sport caught on and has gained popularity with 3,000 players registered across 16 Indian states.
Valavalkar is the president of the All India Pickleball Association (AIPA) and its foundation in 2007 has ensured the structured and organized growth of the sport in the country.
A Clean Sweep
The AIPA is also proud to announce they are sending two of the finest Indian pickleballers, Aditya Ruhela and Tejas Mahajan, to compete in the 2023 English Open to be held at Telford in August. Ruhela and Mahajan won gold and silver respectively in the singles event at the Asia Pickleball Open held recently in Phuket, Thailand. India completed a clean sweep in the doubles competition, taking all six medals, with Mahajan winning gold and Ruhela silver.
Pickleball is also big in the UK. Read our feature on how Pickleball England is raising awareness of the sport.
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