The last decade passed by has led to a revolution in Indian badminton, which has carried the game to unprecedented heights.
Two Olympic medals, two gamers previously ranked world No. 1, and a historic first world championship crown has firmly established India as one of many prime badminton nations on this planet.
The journey of the earlier decade has made gamers like Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu family names within the nation whereas Parupalli Kashyap, Kidambi Srikanth, B Sai Praneeth, Jwala Gutta, and Ashwini Ponappa have all made essential contributions alongside the best way.
Right here, we check out one of the best Indian badminton gamers of all time, in no explicit order:
The primary famous person of Indian badminton, Prakash Padukone was a pioneer in additional methods than one.
After creating waves in home Indian badminton circles – successful junior and senior nationwide titles in the identical yr – Prakash Padukone laid down the marker internationally by successful the lads’s singles gold on the 1978 Commonwealth Video games.
Padukone topped that achievement simply two years later when he took residence the All England Open crown, thought of one of the prestigious tournaments in badminton, in 1980 beating Indonesian legend Liem Swie King within the last.
It was a historic second for India, who till then weren’t thought to provide badminton champions.
Prakash Padukone additionally opened the doorways to Europe in 1981 by enjoying for golf equipment in Denmark, a choice which, by his personal admission, was a calculated risk so as to turn out to be one of the best badminton participant he could possibly be.
The Indian badminton legend was additionally one of many first sportspersons to open up an academy referred to as the ‘Prakash Padukone Centre of Excellence’, the place the high-class services make it one of many sought-after locations to study badminton in India.
Pullela Gopichand is a reputation now synonymous with Indian badminton.
A disciple of the famed ‘Prakash Padukone Centre of Excellence’, Gopichand received his first nationwide title in 1996, earlier than occurring to win the subsequent 4 in a row.
He was a gradual performer in worldwide competitors, successful silver with the lads’s staff on the 1998 Commonwealth Video games and bronze within the singles, earlier than one other bronze on the 2000 Asian championships.
The crowning glory of Pullela Gopichand’s profession got here in 2001 as he turned solely the second Indian badminton participant to win the All England crown, which included a win over then world No. 1 Peter Gade within the semis.
A number of accidents and surgical procedures to his knee introduced a comparatively early finish to Gopichand’s enjoying profession nevertheless it led to the primary steps of what’s now extensively credited with revolutionising Indian badminton.
He opened the famed ‘Pullela Gopichand Academy’ in Hyderabad in 2004, overcoming a whole lot of monetary battle and ill-wishers, and imparted his data to younger youngsters who wished to study the game.
The establishment has produced quite a few stars since then, with every of the three following names being a product of the academy. Gopichand has even been recognised by the Worldwide Olympic Committee for his contribution to the event of the sport.
Saina Nehwal was the participant who modified the panorama of Indian badminton with a monumental bronze at the 2012 London Olympics – the nation’s first Olympic medal in badminton.
After ruffling feathers with a fearless marketing campaign at Beijing 2008, she rose steadily in worldwide competitors. Saina Nehwal turned the first Indian to win a BWF Tremendous Collection title in 2009 and in 2010, she went on to win gold on the Commonwealth Video games.
At simply 22 years outdated, Nehwal was shaping as much as be the nation’s star shuttler and at London 2012, she displayed immense grit to achieve the semi-finals earlier than dropping to prime seed Wang Yihan.
Nevertheless, fortune smiled on her within the bronze medal match, the place Wang Xin retired with an harm after Saina Nehwal had pushed her to the restrict, giving Indian badminton a style of historical past.
The 2012 London Olympics additionally introduced extra private pleasure – her now-husband Parupalli Kashyap additionally turned the primary male Indian badminton participant to achieve the Olympic quarter-finals, the place he was halted by the legendary Lee Chong Wei.
Saina Nehwal added one other cap to her feather, changing into the top-ranked ladies’s singles participant on this planet in 2015, making her the primary Indian to realize it.
Saina Nehwal is at present working in the direction of enjoying her fourth-consecutive Olympics look.
If Saina Nehwal dared Indian badminton to dream, PV Sindhu made that dream a actuality.
A proficient child with fiery pictures, PV Sindhu burst onto the scene in 2012, successful the junior Asian championships title earlier than clinching bronze with a superlative efficiency on the 2013 badminton world championships.
One other bronze on the 2014 world championships established her as one to be careful for and PV Sindhu confirmed her spirit when she recovered from a again harm simply in time to qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
It led to arguably one of the best second of her profession to this point. As an unheralded 20-year-old, PV Sindhu downed huge weapons like Tai Tzu Ying and old rival Nozomi Okuhara to arrange a pulsating title conflict with then world No. 1 Carolina Marin.
PV Sindhu constructed on that platform within the years to come back, successful two silver medals on the world championships earlier than successful the inaugural BWF World Tour title in 2018
PV Sindhu then produced one of the dominating performances in historical past to down Okuhara and win a historic BWF world championship title in 2019, making her the primary Indian to win the crown.
Now ranked world No. 7, PV Sindhu is a close to certainty to make the Tokyo Olympics later this yr and can little doubt be a favorite so as to add one other Olympic medal to her assortment.
A reputation barely much less heralded however an essential cog within the journey of Indian badminton nonetheless is Kidambi Srikanth.
Srikanth received his first nationwide title in 2013, beating senior professional Parupalli Kashyap within the last and went on to turn out to be the first male Indian badminton participant to win a BWF Tremendous Collection title with the 2014 China Open crown, the place he upset Olympic champion Lin Dan within the last.
Kidambi Srikanth misplaced out to Lin Dan within the quarter-finals of Rio 2016 however used that as a springboard for achievement, successful a document 4 Tremendous Collection title in 2017 and rose to turn out to be world No. 1 in 2018, changing into solely the second Indian to take action after Saina Nehwal.
A severe knee harm curtailed his progress thereafter however Kidambi Srikanth returned to prime competitors with the Denmark Open in October final yr and is now aiming to make the Tokyo Olympics after rediscovering himself throughout the COVID-19 break final yr.