Prakash Padukone is one of the most successful former badminton figures to win several laurels for India.
The legendary player was born on June 10, 1955 in Karnataka. He ruled the badminton sports scenario for over a decade (1971-1988). By placing India on the world map, it has won many international recognitions.
As the former badminton champion turns 66 this year, here are some interesting facts about Padukone for this anniversary:
-The badminton star won the Senior National Championship (1971) when he was just 16 years old. This makes him the youngest player to have accomplished such a feat.
-He is known for his miraculous and successive national championship victories until 1979. He set a record of nine consecutive national titles.
-Padukone won 15 international titles between the 1980s and 1985.
-He beat his idol Rudy Hartono at the Swedish Open.
-He won the men’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 most prestigious annual badminton competition in the world. It was thus ranked world No. 1. Once again he was the first Indian to be honored with such a title.
-He won Alba’s first World Cup in October 1981, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
-He is the recipient of the Arjuna (1972) and Padma Shri (1982) awards.
-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 his fellow national pillars Vimal Kumar, Vivek Kumar (1994), Padukone opened the 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 tournament with prize money, the Indian Masters (India Open) in November 1981.
-The 1978 Commonwealth Games held in Edmonton, Canada earned him his first major international title, gold in men’s singles. He won the “Evening of Champions” at the Royal Albert Hall in London the following year, in 1979.
– Padukone’s father, Ramesh Padukone, who was the secretary of the Mysore Badminton Association, introduced him to the game.
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