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Jaipur: BlueSport Entertainment Private Ltd., organisers of the Premier Handball League (PHL), conducted a special launch conference for the inaugural season of the PHL in Jaipur on Wednesday, 7th June 2023. The conference was attended by the captains of each of the 6 teams and Dr. Ajay Data, Chairman, Premier Handball League, Mr. Abhinav Banthia, President, Premier Handball League, and Mr. Vivek Lodha, Director of Finance, Premier Handball League.

India has been recognized as the next hotbed for Handball and one of the main factors behind the same has been the inception of the Premier Handball League. The federations have put their weight behind the league to further push for the future of the league and the sport in India.

The organising committee of the league that kept the trophy a secret till now, unveiled it at the press conference. Dr. Ajay Data, Chairman, Premier Handball League along with Mr Abhinav Banthia, President of the Premier Handball League along and Mr Vivek Lodha, Director of Finance of the League unveiled the majestic cup that has been designed by renowned artist, Amit Pabuwal.

During the unveiling, along with the above-mentioned core members, Mr Aakash Narula, Vice President of League Operations, Mr Karan Mehta, Vice President of Marketing Operations and Mr. Karthik Yanamandra, Vice President of Marketing and Communications were also present.

Dr. Ajay Data, Chairman of PHL, spoke with elation about the inaugural edition of the tournament. He said, “The Premier Handball League will transform the landscape of the sport in India. Handball is a highly dynamic sport that will garner a lot of interest from fans as the league will act as a perfect platform to drastically boost interest in the sport and its popularity. We are sure India will soon start producing elite Handball players that will go on to fight for glory at the Asian stage followed by the Olympics.”

Expressing his excitement ahead of the first season of the Premier Handball League, the President of PHL, Mr. Abhinav Banthia said, "We are eagerly waiting for the league to start. I am certain the league will help shine the spotlight on the sport of Handball in India. The fast-paced action during the matches will enthral fans as they get behind the players and start establishing them as superstars of tomorrow. The league’s main focus in the first season is to provide high-quality competition and a great in-stadium experience for the fans as the action in the league captures their imagination. We further intend to expand the impact of the league by launching large-scale grassroots activation for spotting new talent from across the country.”

Further adding to the sentiment, Mr. Vivek Lodha, Director of Finance of PHL said, “India has always been home to great talent from various sporting disciplines and considering our recent performance at the IHF Emerging Nations Cup, the time is nigh that we got a professional league to help Indian Handball players grow further. With the support of the Handball Association India and the South Asian Handball Federation, we have put together a world-class property which will only grow further as the years pass. 

The league will provide various private stakeholders in India with a golden opportunity to invest in the sport and help it reach new heights. I strongly believe that the inaugural season will surely prove to be a pivotal moment for Handball in the country.”

The home team Rajasthan Patriots is all geared up to take on Maharashtra Ironmen to kick start the season of the PHL at the Sawai Mansingh Indoor Stadium on the 8th of June 2023 at 7:00 PM IST to broadcast LIVE on Sports 18-1 (HD & SD) and Sports 18 Khel and will be streamed LIVE on JioCinema. The match between the Patriots and Ironmen will be followed by a clash between the Telugu Talons and Garvit Gujarat from 8:30 PM IST onward. The winners of the inaugural season of the Premier Handball League will be awarded 11 lakh rupees, while the runners-up will be awarded 5 lakh rupees.

Captain of the Rajasthan Patriots, Atul Kumar, shared his delight ahead of the first match of the league as he said, “All the players in the squad are delighted t/hat they are part of the first edition of the Premier Handball League. We have a team full of fierce competitors so we are confident that we will perform well this season. Now we are keenly looking forward to the first match against the Maharashtra Ironmen which is going to be an action-packed affair. I believe a person gets stronger with responsibility so I will keep my responsibilities as the captain in mind and look to lead my team by example this season.”

While mirroring the sentiment, the captain of the Maharashtra Ironmen, Igor Chiseliov said, “We were zealously waiting for a league to emerge for the sport to help elevate the stature of Handball in India. We can’t wait to take to the court for the first-ever match of the league, which will be a momentous occasion for us all and for Handball in the country. I am looking forward to leading my team out for the first match against the Rajasthan Patriots. It is going to be a highly competitive game that will engage fans across the nations and showcase the potential of the league.”

The inaugural edition of the league will only be conducted in Jaipur, where fans will be welcomed into the venue to catch the dynamic action during the matches free of cost. 

The Premier Handball League (PHL), is sanctioned by the South Asian Handball Federation and affiliated with the Asian Handball Federation (AHF). The league which will feature six teams – Delhi Panzers, Rajasthan Patriots, Garvit Gujarat, Golden Eagles Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra Ironmen and Telugu Talons is scheduled to start on June 8, 2023, and will go on till June 25, 2023, at the Sawai Mansingh Indoor Stadium in Jaipur crowning the first Premier Handball League Champion.

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