Pickleball Bainbridge Cup 2022 India Uttar Pradesh Team Wins International Silver In Men’s Singles And Doubles

The Uttar Pradesh pickleball team put on its best ever performance in the recently concluded Bainbridge Cup, the first international pickeball event held in India, winning silver in both men’s singles and doubles categories. The Bainbridge Cup was hosted by the All India Pickleball Association (AIPA) in association with the International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) in Mumbai.

Aman Grover (39), playing his maiden international pickleball tournment, secured a silver in the 19+ men’s singles category while battling extreme humidity and muscle cramps.

The UP team also won a silver in the 19+ men’s doubles category, where Aman Grover teamed up with Sunil Garg. 

The UP team came close to bagging a third medal in the 60+ category, but Pradeep Saxena, a heart patient who was playing with a fracture in his left hand, lost a nail-biting match in the semis.

Pickleball Bainbridge Cup 2022 India Uttar Pradesh Team Wins International Silver In Men's Singles And Doubles

Speaking on the UP team’s impressive show, Grover, general secretary of the Uttar Pradesh State Pickleball Association (UPSPA), said competing with 19-year-olds at the international level and playing in the scorching heat and humidity of Mumbai was not easy.

“Nothing beats the feeling of competing against the best of the best in an international arena under extreme circumstances. Being 39 years old and playing amongst younger people and winning gave me immense joy and a sense of pride,” Grover told ABP Live.

“The circumstances like scortching heat and humidity made it more difficult. We had to undergo physio post a few matches to relax the muscles. The knock-out’s were nail biting and each stage saw the competition getting stricter and the sun made it even harder to perform,” he further said.

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Sunil Garg, 40, said having a good co-ordination with his doubles partner was the most important aspect and they worked on it rigourously for the past four months before the tournament. 

“The feeling actually can’t be expressed in words, it feels wonderful to win a medal at such a level where you compete with players from around the globe. The age category where we played, the contenders were much younger than us and more fitter as well,” Garg said.

This year, an unprecedented 435 players took part in the five-day event and more than 1,400 matches were held in 70 various age-wise categories. A prize money of $50,500 was offered to the winners.

Sunil Valavalkar, founder of All India Pickleball Association (AIPA), said the tournament was a super success and would definitely make the racquet sport more popular among the masses. 

“If we can maintain this tempo, ultimately Indian players would stand to benefit,” Valavalkar said.

“A nine-year old girl from Jharkhand mesmerised everybody by her command on the game. Similarly players from states like Chattisgarh and Sikkim showed outstanding skills of pickleball. This has emphasised my belief that very soon Indian players will prove their talent to the rest of the world,” he further said.