The Poona District and Metropolitan Badminton Association (PDMBA) launched a commemorative coffee-table book ’The Poona Game', in the virtual presence of badminton legend Pullela Gopichand. The event was held in Pune on Tuesday.
The book is meant to honor the 150 years of the game that was born in the city and mark its own 75th anniversary.
In their absence, the chairman and managing council of the Progressive Education Society, Gajanan Ekbote, presided over the launch event.
Encapsulating the legacy of the sport of badminton, the book comprehensively details the journey, major accomplishments, and key successes achieved overall.
Details of the game being created in Pune, to rules laid down in Pune during 1871-72, and PDMBA establishing itself in 1946 are documentations that would enrich the knowledge of the connoisseur of the sport.
The PDMBA, over 75 years, has time and time again proved its mettle and continues to strive towards excellence to serve the sport, which is notably recorded.
Be it developing international players in Pune, having dynamic organizers in the late Avinash Wardekar and Dajisaheb Natu, to conducting the country’s first prize money tournament, the book has it all.
India’s first prize money badminton tournament - Indian Masters - was held in 1981, which was won by Prakash Padukone.
Similarly, PDMBA’s transition over time led to it establishing itself at the Modern Sports Complex. The arena hosts nine badminton courts and has constantly produced quality umpires.
"The Poona Game" also highlights the achievements of PDMBA’s Girish Natu, who is popular figure in the badminton circles around the world.
In recognition of the great services of individuals who defined success through their contributions, PDMBA, during the function, honored organizers and administrators.
The late Avinash Wardekar, Dajisaheb Natu, Annasaheb Natu, and Suresh Phalnikar were honored. International shuttlers Manjusha Pavangadkar, Nikhil Kanetkar, and Manjusha Sahastrabuddhe were also felicitated.
Senior coaches KR Shetty, Anil Modak, technical official Girish Natu and a loyalist staff member in Dilip Kamble are apt mentions in a chapter outlining the glory of 75 years.
The function was compered by Atul Biniwale and chaired by PDMBA President Aniruddha Deshpande. PDMBA Honorary Secretary Ranjeet Natu gave a welcome address covering the history of PDMBA since its inception.
This is indeed a glorious occasion for the PDMBA: Pullela Gopichand
Padma Bhushan awardee Pullela Gopichand praised the contribution of PDMBA in Indian badminton history. He said it was a brilliant co-incidence that India recently won the Thomas Cup for the first time, beating 14-time champions Indonesia 3-0 in the final.
Speaking over the virtual platform, Pullela Gopichand said:
“This indeed is a glorious occasion! A day that conjoins the historic legacy of the birth of ’Poona Badminton’ dating back 150 years. The tireless association of the Poona District Metropolitan Badminton Association (PDMBA) has been through half the number of years since badminton was born in this city. It all happened during the celebration of India’s first-ever gold medal in the Thomas Cup."
“As a member of the badminton fraternity at large, and having earned my name, it is my honor to be part of this moment and unfold chronicled history. PDMBA has done a wonderful job in shaping badminton through the coffee-table book, which also includes their dedicated effort in producing players of international repute. The finest on and off the court officials who together are world renowned and looked up to by the fraternity across the world.”
I have bittersweet memories of Pune: Pullela Gopichand
Pullela Gopichand h has several memories of Pune. He suffered serious injuries as a player in the city but also won the senior national title within a gap of a couple of years.
“To me Pune holds a special place. I have bittersweet memories of the city. It was here that my career almost ended in 1995 with a dreadful injury during the National Games. But then it was also here that I came back two years later, in 1997, to win my maiden Senior National title. I also cannot forget the fond family relations with the Natu family. I had a close friendship with Ranjeet Natu, who at one time paired up as my doubles partner and won a national ranking event."
Pullela Gopichand concluded by saying:
“The CTB launch will be yet another takeaway memory from the city, a memory that will remain for years to come. The CTB, personally, is pièce de résistance for the finesse in which the journey of the sport is captured and synopsized. Surely, a first of its kind by any association in India."
The PDMBA is planning to host the next Senior National Badminton Championships in Pune as part of the ongoing celebrations.