Last Updated: January 23, 2023, 19:00 IST
Badminton has seen rapid growth as a sport in India in the last decade and the world’s leading badminton equipment brand YONEX has made a big announcement of manufacturing high-quality graphite racquets in the country. Recent performances of Indian shuttlers in the Thomas Cup, World Championships, Asian Games and Commonwealth games have made the game extremely popular in the country as a result Yonex decides to take the big call to expand its existing production plan and base in India, a move which will bring the cost of full-body racquets down considerably.
Last year was a glorious year for badminton in the country with historic Thomas Cup triumph as well as winning medals at the World Championships and other multi-nation events such as the Asiad and the Commonwealth Games. Such consistent performances has put badminton in the spotlight as it’s now the second most played sport by both genders in India.
The new graphite racquets were unveiled in the presence of Ben Yoneyama, Chairman of YONEX Japan, R Hanawa, President of YONEX India, Vikramaditya Dhar, Managing Director, Sunrise Sports India Pvt Ltd and India’s chief national coach Pullela Gopichand.
“India is a big market for badminton with its growing economy and interest in the sport. A lot of Indian players are performing really well on the world stage, encouraging more to take up the sport. We want to cater to that audience and provide the highest Japanese quality equipment to further the sport’s development,” Mr Ben Yoneyama, Chairman of YONEX Japan, commented while addressing the media at a press conference in the capital city on Saturday.
The growing popularity of the game has resulted in taking the demand for quality racquets sky high and the market share for badminton is seeing a 10-15% YoY growth. The production of racquets in India will also ensure the product’s prices reduce by 20-30% than the current market rates.
“We want to give better quality racquets to our customers who are looking for full body graphite racquets at affordable prices. These are for players at a higher level, playing at academies and starting at a competitive level. With racquets being made in India, the consumers need not worry about import costs, fluctuating exchange rates as they will get high quality Japanese craftsmanship and technology at affordable prices.” said Mr Vikramaditya Dhar, Managing Director, Sunrise Sports India Pvt Ltd.
The National coach also underlined the role played by YONEX in the rise of Indian badminton on the global stage and said the new initiative was just another step to empower Indian badminton.
“Yonex Sunrise has made a huge difference to Indian badminton, whether it was in 2008 when India reached the quarterfinals at the Olympics or the fantastic performance at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Their support was instrumental in India winning the first Olympics Medal at 2012. YONEX has been an integral part of India’s success story in world badminton,” he added.
The Japanese company, which set up a factory in Bengaluru in 2016 under the ‘Make in India’ initiative, was only producing aluminium T-joint racquets, used for beginners who play for fitness or recreation purpose. They aim to amplify the production of existing T-joint racquets from 1 million to 2.5-3 million per year.
Yonex and Sunrise have been committed to the promotion and development of badminton for over 60 years. SUNRISE has the largest direct sports distribution network in the Indian sub-continent. It has been supporting multiple state and district associations in the country to promote and develop the game the grassroot to the highest level of badminton in the country. They are also the official equipment partner for the Badminton Association of India.
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