HAPPY BIRTHDAY PRAKASH PADUKONE: One of the brightest former badminton personalities to have earned a number of laurels for India, is Prakash Padukone. The legendary player was born on June 10, 1955 in Karnataka. He reigned the badminton sports scenario for over a decade (1971-1988). Putting India on the global map, he brought home many international recognition. He is responsible for getting India to believe that badminton could be a career choice at the back of some major achievements in the world circuit.
As the former badminton champion turns a year older today, here are some interesting facts about Padukone on this birthday:
- The badminton starwon the national senior championship (1971) when he was only 16. This made him the youngest player to have accomplished such a feat.
- He is known for his miraculous, successive wins in national championships until 1979. He set a record of winning nine national titles in a row.
- Padukone won 15 international titles between the years 1980 and 1985.
- He defeated his idol Rudy Hartono in Swedish Open.
- He had won both the boy’s and men’s singles tournament in 1971.
- He was the first Indian to win the All England Open Badminton Championships (1980) which is the world’s most prestigious annual badminton competition. He was ranked World No.1 as a result. Once again he was the first Indian to be honoured with such a title.
- He was the winner of the first Alba World Cup in October 1981, held at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
- He is the recipient of Arjuna Award (1972), and Padma Shri (1982).
- After his retirement in 1989, Padukone co-founded the Olympic Gold Quest with Indian Billiards and snooker player Geet Sethi to facilitate Olympic sports in India.
- With fellow national stalwarts Vimal Kumar, Vivek Kumar (1994), Padukone opened Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy (October 1) in Bangalore. The academy has produced national champions such as Puella Gopichand and Aparna Popat.
- Padukone also won the first Indian open prize-money tournament, the Indian Masters (India Open) in November 1981.
- The 1978 Commonwealth Games held in Edmonton, Canada fetched him his first major international title, the men’s singles gold medal. He bagged the ‘Evening of Champions’ at the Royal Albert Hall, London, the next year, 1979.
- Padukone’s father Ramesh Padukone who was the Secretary of the ‘Mysore Badminton Association’ introduced him to the game.