3 moments that changed the face of Indian Badminton

Rajat B
Asian Games - Day 10
Asian Games - Day 10

Badminton, as a sport has always performed under the shadow of the likes of Cricket, well for that matter all the sports have had the same story in India. The popularity and the stardom that cricket and cricket players have is proof of why other sports have been underestimated. But we can't just overlook what cricket has given to the nation and its people, Cricket has put India on the world stage and we should all be proud of.

But we all hope India becomes a sporting nation rather than a cricketing nation, that would probably help millions of Indian youngsters think about considering their sport or craft seriously. We have seen so many breakthroughs in Indian sports with the likes of Indian Soccer league, Pro-Kabbadi and Pro-Badminton league and many leagues that have started to emerge.

Here are the moments that changed the face of Indian badminton:

#1 Saina Nehwal - The Badminton superstar

Saina Nehwal with the Australian open Superseries trophy and medal
Saina Nehwal with the Australian open Superseries trophy and medal

Saina Nehwal is the Icon of Indian Badminton. Indian fans never thought that India would be a dominant force in Badminton until they saw the emergence of a Superstar, Saina Nehwal.

Saina has won 23 International titles, she has 10 Superseries title to her name. It was April 2, 2015, when she achieved her number 1 position, becoming the only second Indian to reach that milestone after Prakash Padukone.

The big breakthrough came when Saina won the Bronze medal at the London Olympics, becoming the first Shuttler to ever win a medal in the Olympics. This paved a way for all the aspiring shuttlers to dream the possibilities about winning medals at the Olympics.

A lot of credit goes to Saina for the increasing popularity of Badminton in India. She has been awarded Padma Bhushan, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and Arjuna award for her immense contribution to the game.

#2 PV Sindhu Clinches Silver at Rio 2016 Olympics

PV Sindhu with the Olympic gold medal
PV Sindhu with the Olympic gold medal

The stage was set on August 19, 2016, when PV Sindhu took the centre stage against the 3-time world champion Carolina Marin.

Winning gold was not going to be easy for PV Sindhu, but the Indian fans were not ready to slip it away. Every sports enthusiast in India had glued to their television to witness one of the best action of the sport in recent years.

The game took off swiftly with both the players going hard on each other. Sindhu took the first set to her name with 21-19 and had the advantage of the game right away.

The momentum was on Sindhu after the first set, but the second set had a swing in Carolina’s favour as she outplayed Sindhu with a huge margin of 12-21 with some spectacular display of the craft and proved why she was the No.1 Champion then.

Now it all came down to the last set and the decider, the winner of this set gets the Gold. Unfortunately, Sindhu couldn’t clinch the Gold. Carolina beat her 15-21 to win Gold at Rio Olympics 2016.

But this event marked the emergence of Badminton era. Indians will remember and be proud of PV Sindhu for everything she had given to the nation and its people.

#3 Kidambi Srikanth reaches World no. 1

Kidambi Srikanth winning the Australian Open Superseries
Kidambi Srikanth winning the Australian Open Superseries

Kidambi Srikanth becomes the second Indian to reach to the number 1 rankings on April 12, 2018, only after Saina Nehwal who had reached this feat in women’s category in 2015.

Srikanth trains in Gopichand Badminton Academy, which has taken Indian badminton to a whole new level producing the finest of players including Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu, Parupalli Kashyap and many more.

The moment of reaching the pinnacle came when Srikanth won the Indonesia Super Series beating Japan’s Kazumasa Sakai 21-11, 21-19. Srikanth suddenly became a sensation in the nation when the news came out. Achievements like these would surely have a positive impact on the sport and its growth.

There has never been the best time for athletes from different sports to prove their mettle and put up a show where they can see the fans pouring into the stadium and rooting for them like never before.

Badminton has had a great success and we hope it keeps doing the same in coming years.

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Edited by Nishant Jayaram
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