Home FLASHES Bainbridge Cup- World Cup of Pickleball comes to India; promises five-days of...

Bainbridge Cup- World Cup of Pickleball comes to India; promises five-days of superlative ‘pickling’


The 5th edition of Bainbridge Cup, the greatest global tournament of Pickleball, began in India through a glittering opening ceremony at National Sports Club of India, Mumbai.

It was on Bainbridge Island, a small city in western Washington state, where Joel Pritchard, Barney McCallum and Bill Bell formulated the sport, Pickleball. To commemorate the founders of Pickleball, the International Federation of Pickleball (IFP), conceptualised an intercontinental tournament and named it the Bainbridge Cup. 

The inaugural Bainbridge Cup took place at Madrid in Spain in 2017. In 2018, the tournament was held at Montesilvano in Italy. In 2019, the Bainbridge Cup was held at Essen in Germany and in 2021 it was held at Florida in USA.

India won the right to host the 5th edition of the Bainbridge Cup. The tournament in India is organised by the All India Pickleball Association (AIPA) in association with Amateur Pickleball Federation, India (APFI).  

Ten nations from across the globe is participating in this tournament. The countries are Australia, Chinese Taipei, Egypt, Japan, Nigeria, USA, Singapore, Thailand, Canada, New Zealand and India. There will be around 1500 matches in five days in Singles, Doubles, Mixed Doubles and U-18 categories. Over 350 national players and 40 international players are participating in this tournament.

Carl Burnett, the Vice President of IFP who flew to India to attend this event,was overwhelmed at the response of the players, officials and other stake holders of the sport. “I can gauge the popularity of this sport in India and the impact of this event on all the participating nations,” he said.

The tournament has become historically significant because this is the first time the world cup of any racquet sport is being organised in India. The tournament is also  the talk of the town as the total prize money accounts to a whooping 55000$.

“Friends please do not start calculating what is equivalent  to US$  to INR  because mathematically you 
may get a certain figure but the amount of energy that the entire team has put up is very minuscule 
compared to that figure of Rs45 lacs,” remarked Sunil Valavalkar, the President of IFP and Founder of AIPA.
Arvind Prabhoo, the Chairman of AIPA first proposed to bring the Bainbridge Cup to India. Since then, he and his team have worked relentlessly to host an event of this magnitude in India. 
“Pickleball is very close to my heart. When I first heard about this sport from Sunil Valavalkar in 2017, I understood that this game is quite suitable for Indians. Lot of players in India play badminton, tennis and table tennis; so it is very easy to adapt to this game. As the sport has grown exponentially in India, we thought of organising the World Cup of Pickleball and today we are all here to celebrate the opening of Bainbridge Cup in India,” said Arvind Prabhoo.
On the occasion, a demonstration game of 7 minutes was played between Indian and international players. The chief guest of the event, Shiv Sena leader Aditya Thackeray, also tried his hands at the game. Though new to him, he adjusted his movements and shots accordingly.
“I remember meeting Mr Valavalkar nine years back and he tried to explain me about this game of Pickleball. But I wondered how this game goes, how it moves and what is the level of popularity of this sport. It seemed to me that he is talking about a game that kids generally play with ball and notebook while in school. But now looking at its professionalism, looking at its excellence, I want to congratulate him and Arvindji. It is very important for all of us to play any game in our daily life and this sport is perfect for everyone,” Thackeray concluded. 
The tournament is scheduled from 30th November -5th December at National Sports Club of India in Mumbai.
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PoulomiKundu started her career in 2000 as a freelance journalist in Hindustan Times. Soon after she was selected an intern in Zee News, Kolkata. After her post- graduation in English, Poulomi joined the leading television production house of eastern India, Rainbow Productions. She was a journalist in Khas Khobor, a Bengali news magazine programme in Doordarshan and also headed the post production department of another programme, Khas Kolkata. In 2004, Poulomi moved to Delhi as a creative writer in an advertising agency, Brand Stewards Pvt. Ltd. In 2005, she again shifted her base for a better opportunity and that in Mumbai. There she got the job in Raa Media Pvt Ltd. as an associate director of two programmes for Doordarshan-Yuva and Paisa Vasool. In the meantime, she also wrote features in DNA as a freelancer. Poulomi directs promotional videos, develops scripts for films for Corporate and NGOs. But an ardent sports lover, Poulomi always had an urge to contribute somewhere in the field of sports. Her love for sports started from an early age when she played gully cricket and football for local teams. Academics and professional hazards sometimes took her away from her passion, but it never died in her. She always nurtured the never-ending dream. So she materialized her dream in the form of ‘SPORTSAVOUR’. It is an online sports portal that serves sports with the tagline ‘For the indigenous, unconventional, unknown’.


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