Come 2nd September and the indoor court of Jamnabai Narsee School will lit up with the unique ‘…tuck…’ sound of paddles of Pickleball. The players will be on their toes; adrenalin rush and high-rising spirits, pats and high-fives; all will be there on the court. Definitely, it will be an occasion to cheer, the occasion of the 1st JN Open Pickleball Tournament.
A first-of-its kind tournament in India, JN Open is organized jointly by Clubmk Academy and JNS Pickleball Club. As it is a one-day tournament, there will be very little time to judge a player’s capability and skill. So, the organisers have decided to divide the players in two levels- Intermediate and Advanced. The intention is to place the players in their respective categories so that there can be a fair evaluation of the players. “Yes, the format is punishing and ideally we would love to have league matches and then knock out. But we have time constraint and hence it’s a do or die situation,” explained Manish Rao, the Tournament Director.
16 teams in each level will be taking part in the event. There will be players from Rajasthan, Jalgaon, Aurangabad, Pune and Mumbai. This tournament is open mainly for all those players who do not regularly participate in tournaments. They play Pickleball for recreation and are not used to the exact stretches and strains of competitive matches. This tournament will give them an opportunity to get exposed to the real competition as well as also to have enjoyment and fun while meeting players from other clubs.
Players will have fun, they will meet new people and will have a great learning experience. But what is most important is that they will be playing for a cause. Clubmk Academy and JNS Pickleball Club have decided to support Urvashi Foundation through this tournament. Urvashi Foundation is an NGO which is working towards providing education to the poor and under-privileged. Their constant endeavour is to identify and support under-privileged schools by providing them with the resources that they need. Manish Rao stated, “The whole idea of the tournament is to give back to the society something from Pickleball. As Indian Pickleball works towards ‘Sports For All’, in the same way Urvashi Foundation works towards the goal of ‘Education For All’. So we found it quite intertwined and that is what we want”.
The event is supported by USA-based Pickleball companies like Prolite, Franklin Sports, Pickleball Central and Pickleball Global. This will be the first tournament in India where a tournament software from Pickleball Global will be used to keep scores updated so that anyone can access the results of the matches online.