Even though cricket remains the most popular sport in India, other games have also begun to make their mark. Among these badminton has gained a lot of fan following in the country. Ranked among the top five most popular sports in India, badminton is a highly entertaining and energetic sport. Over the years, a number of badminton players have gone on to achieve global recognition and have made the nation proud by winning a number of international championships. Some of the players who have made it big in the badminton world are:
Prakash Padukone is a former badminton player. Initiated into the game by his father Ramesh Padukone, Prakash was just 16 when he won the national senior championship in 1971. Thereafter, he went on to win many trophies. He took part in the 1978 Commonwealth Games held in Canada and won a Gold Medal for India. He won a gold medal at the 1980 All England Championships, becoming the first Indian to do so. Padukone bagged a gold medal at the 1981 World Cup held in Kuala Lumpur. Two years later, he won a bronze medal at the World Championships held in Copenhagen.
Syed Modi was all of 26 when he was shot dead in July 1988. However, he was one of the best and most promising badminton players that the nation has ever seen. In his short life he went to achieve numerous accolades and trophies. He was an eight time national badminton champion between the years 1980 and 1987. He won a gold medal in the 1982 Commonwealth Games held in Australia, Gold medals in 1983 and 1984 at the Austrian International, Bronze medal at the 1982 Asian Games held in New Delhi, to name a few.
Aparna Popat was India’s national champion for a record nine times between the years 1997 and 2006. Some of her major achievements include winning a silver medal at the World Junior Badminton Championship held in 1996 in Denmark, silver medal in the 1998 Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games, and winning the French Open title, becoming the first Indian woman to do so.
Chetan Anand Buradagunta
A National Badminton champion in 2004, 2007, 2008 and 2010, Chetan has several achievements to his credit such as winning the Toulouse Open in France in 2004, emerging victorious at the Irish and Scottish open badminton tournaments in 2005, etc
A legendary player, Gopichand’s world raking was five in the year 2001. A talented player, he has won many awards such as Arjuna Award in 1999, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 2001, Padma Shri in 2005, Dronacharya Award in 2009 and Padma Bhushan in 2014.
One of the top ranking female players, she won a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics held in London, becoming the first Indian to do so. She is also the first Indian to win a Super Series Tournament in 2009 and a gold medal in the 2008 World Junior Championships.
The latest player to make India proud, PV Sidhu is an exceptionally talented player. She won a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics. With this win she became the first Indian to bag this glory. She has also won a medal at the Badminton World Championship.
Badminton Coaching Academies in India
These are just some of the players who have not only increased the reputation of India but have also given a boost to the popularity of badminton in the country. Today there are a number of youngsters who want to tread in the footsteps of these eminent players and bring glory to the nation. The increasing popularity of the sport has witnessed a number of badminton academies mushrooming across the nation. Though reaching the top requires a lot of determination and perseverance but good badminton academies can boost youngsters towards their dreams. Some of the well known academies which provide state-of-the-art training in badminton and help youngsters make a career in the sport are:
Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy
Started in 1994 by Prakash Padukone, Vimal Kumar and Vivek Kumar, Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy has carved a niche for itself by producing top ranking badminton players. The academy is based in Bengaluru, Karnataka.
Ardor Badminton Academy
Located in Rohini, Delhi, Ardor Badminton Academy is run by top professionals who provide the right kind of training. The academy has four courts and good infrastructure.
Surjit Singh Badminton Academy
Located in Pitampura, Surjit Singh Badminton Academy is run by Surjit Singh who for many years worked as a senior coach at the Sports Authority of India. Founded in 1995, the academy has produced many top players.
Gopichand Badminton Academy
One of the best academies in the country, Gopichand Badminton Academy is run by top badminton player Gopichand. Located in Hyderabad, the Gopichand Badminton is famous for its training quality facilities and has produced several notable players such as Saina Nehwal, PV Sidhu, Srikanth Kidambi, etc.
Other popular academies imparting training in badminton are DK Academy, Delhi, United Shuttlers Badminton Academy, Delhi, SAI’s Badminton Training Centre, etc.