An Inspiring Story of Indian Badminton Stalwart: Prakash Padukone

Prakash Padukone

The man who took the Indian badminton to the next level, the man who made the world believe that willpower is important than infrastructure to be successful at international level Prakash Padukone is the forgotten name these days.

Prakash Padukone

The sad part is he is remembered as the father of renowned actress Deepika Padukone. One of the all-time greats and a fierce player during his playing days Prakash Padukone will be remembered for his exploits in all England badminton championship in 1980.

Undoubtedly he is one of the legends of the game, who a won title despite the game was not so popular in India. The sport dominated by Chinese, Singaporeans and Indonesians, Prakash Padukone made continuous marks in the international arena by winning notable tournaments across the world. He is the living legend and continues to contribute to the sport by producing quality players like Aswini Ponnappa through his academy named Prakash Padukone Academy. Born in a humble middle-class family to reaching several heights is not the easiest task and here is an ever inspiring story of Prakash Padukone.

Early Days of Prakash Padukone

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Prakash Padukone was born on June 10, 1955, in Kundapur Karnataka. His father Ramesh himself a badminton player is an inspiration for Prakash to take up the sport. During Initial days his father Ramesh was the coach and Ramesh tried to give every possible infrastructure to pursue his son’s badminton career. In 1962 Prakash played his first official badminton match in state junior championship tournament. He again went on to win the tournament couple of years of later, which marked his arrival into badminton arena.

In order to pursue his badminton career, his family moved to Bangalore, but there too the Infrastructure was not up to the mark Prakash started practicing in the wedding halls during the initial stages of his career. Karnataka state badminton association spotted his talent and provide able support which helped him to grow as a better player.  This compelled him to open an academy that contains world-class training facilities. He was married to Ujjwala and the couple is blessed with two daughters Deepika a familiar actress in the Bollywood industry and Anisha Padukone a golf player.

The Beginning of an Era

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1972 marked as the great year in the Prakash’s career as he went to win both junior and senior championships at the national level. Then after he won a national title consecutively for seven years, which is the record still not broken. He tasted his first major international success in commonwealth games by bagging a bronze medal. After that, he went on to win Danish and Swedish titles. Since then he continues to grow immensely in the international circuit by slowly started clinching major tournaments.  He reached the peak time in his career by winning the most prestigious all English championship in 1980. During that time he was also ranked world number 1 the rare feat achieved by Indian even today.

Sport mainly dominated by Koreans, Indonesians, and Chinese Prakash’s rise is marked as a much-needed boost for the sport in the country. He is one of the major reasons for the game getting popularized in India. He formally announced his retirement in 1991.

Career Achievements

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  • Prakash secured third place singles category at world championships in 1983 held in Denmark
  • Prakash won the gold medal at commonwealth games in 1978 at Edmonton Canada.
  • He made India proud by winning the bronze medal at Asian games 1978 and 1986 held in Iran and South Korea respectively.
  • Prakash made the history by becoming the first Indian to win a singles badminton world title in 1981
  • Prakash won the most prestigious Denmark open in 1979.
  • In 1980 he creates the history and became the first Indian to win most prestigious all England open. Later he termed that victory as one of the all-time greatest victories in his career.
  • He becomes world number in 1981 the rare feat by any south Asian player.
Awards and Felicitations

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  • Prakash has awarded the Arjuna award the second highest sporting award in 1972
  • He was awarded Padma Shri in 1982 the fourth highest civilian award in 1982.
  • He was one of the co-founders of Olympic gold quest a foundation that aimed at promoting Olympic sports in India
  • After retirement, he served as a chairman of badminton association of India.
  • He also served as the coach of Indian badminton squad from 1993 to 1996.
Interesting Facts about Prakash Padukone

Facts about Prakash Padukone

  • He was the most popular Indian sportsmen during 1980s
  • After his retirement, he set up his own badminton training academy with world-class amenities and it continues to produce the best players across India.
  • He was honored the lifetime achievement award by badminton association of India in 2018

Arguably the best player during his playing days and most prominent face of Indian sports is still continuing his legacy as a coach. We wish him all success in his future endeavors.

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