5 Things to remember about Prakash Padukone as he turns 64
The one true person who has been individually responsible for giving Indian badminton it's much-desired impetus is definitely the genius of Prakash Padukone.
Badminton has always been a sport dominated by the swift and agile Chinese and Indonesian players across all categories of the game.
Few could make their mark felt on the courts of the fastest shuttle game known to the sporting world.
During such precarious times, Prakash Padukone broke the well-laid stereotypes held against badminton and inspired the entire country to take up the sport as he brought back laurels from countless prestigious tournaments.
Today, as Prakash Padukone, steps into his 64th year, he is much renowned and celebrated as a legend of the sport.
The ex-coach of the Indian badminton team for BAI, Padukone ensured that his daughters, Deepika and Anisha get a share of his sporting genes too. While Deepika used to play badminton at the state level before switching professions to modeling and acting, Anisha, on the other hand, is a golfer.
The current trend and popularity of badminton in India owe their debt to this man from Udupi, Karnataka. Prakash Padukone, single-handedly paved the way for glory when he became the World Number 1 in the crux years of the 1980's.
Tasting international success for much of his career, the legend famously said, "Don't say what badminton can give you, instead ask what you can do for badminton," after receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Badminton Association of India (BAI) in 2018.
As the first superstar of Indian badminton turned a year younger, let's have a look at some of the golden moments of the legend's illustrious career:
#1 A formidable force to reckon with in the national stages of the sport
To say that Prakash Padukone was immensely talented would be undermining the true genius of the man. Padukone, went on to win the National title for nine years on the trot.
In fact, the Bangalore-resident was barely 9 years old when he won his first State Junior Title. Soon enough, when he reached the age of 16, Padukone grabbed both the Junior and Senior National titles on the same day!
#2 Asian Games success in 1974 and 1986
Prakash Padukone brought glory for badminton when he participated in the 1974 Tehran Asian Games as well as the 1986 Seoul Asian Games. Playing a very important role as a member of the Indian contingent, Padukone received bronze medals on both occasions, in the team event.
#3 Commonwealth glory in 1978
By 1978, Padukone was slowly climbing his way to the very top and was already regarded as a threat on the international platform.
In the 1978 Edmonton Commonwealth Games, Padukone became the first Indian player to win a gold in the men's singles category of the multi-sporting tournament.
During the 1982 Commonwealth Games held in Brisbane, Syed Modi had bagged the gold, setting the trend for India to taste glory in badminton.
#4 The glittering 1980's
Prakash Padukone reached the pinnacle of his career in the 1980's. It was a spectacular year for the man from Udupi.
He was virtually unstoppable and fierce the entire year. He went on to win the Danish Open, the Swedish Open and became the first Indian to clinch the elusive men's singles title at the All England Championships.
Padukone defeated Indonesian badminton star Liem Swie King and stopped him from getting a hattrick number of wins at the All England Championships. It was in this year also that Padukone perched himself at the top of the rankings at World Number 1!
#5 Role as the Indian coach and championing the Olympic Gold Quest
Post his retirement in 1991 from competitive badminton, Prakash Padukone has been intrinsically linked with the badminton scene of India.
In hopes of inspiring budding players to give back to the sport, he runs the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy in Banaglore.
He served as the Chairman of the Badminton Association of India (BAI) for some time and also coached the Indian team from 1993-1996. He continues to love the sport and does what is required to promote the badminton culture in this country.