These Classic & Timeless Players Reflect the Golden Generation of Indian Badminton

7 min read

Since many decades India has been producing the best badminton players who have brought great joy and pride to the nation-wide spectators. Indian Badminton players have set their foot on each and every international podium of badminton, be it Commonwealth, Olympic, or any other major international events.

The game that requires high stamina, fitness, precision and agility, has seen a phenomenal rise in India after its match that was played in 1934.

India over the years has witnessed many players who have excelled in the game. These Indian badminton players are taking the world by storm by breaking many world records, clinching medals, fame and name in their kitty.

  • Nandu Natekar

 

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Considered as the ‘God of Indian Badminton’, Nandu Natekar was the masterstroke player ever in the badminton history. Natekar had an extraordinary control over the game, stroke making style and an exquisite display of artistry. He was considered as the king of his home court and was just invincible.

With more than 100 national and international titles under his belt, Natekar was also the first Indian to clinch an international title in 1956. His class of game is so high that people used to travel from far-fetched areas to see his match, particularly.

Natekar caries the pride of being the most voted sportsperson of India in the year of 1961. A top-famous Indian badminton player during his time, Natekar made his place in Top 8 in All Indian Championship. Nandu Natekar is also a recipient of Arjuna Award in 1961.

 

  • Pullela Gopichand

Image Source: Deccan Chronicle

There is one commonality in the success of the ace badminton shuttlers of India – PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal, and that is their coach Pullela Gopichand. This quiet yet passionate being has single-handedly produced some of the world-class athletes.

This former badminton player who made his international badminton debut in 1991 has many accolades to his name. His sporting achievements include winning an individual bronze and silver in the team event, at the 1998 Commonwealth Games. Gopi’s best result was winning the 2001 All England Open Badminton Championship.

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Owning a lot of injuries, this famous Indian badminton player took retirement from the Indian Badminton quite early. Gopichand owns an international badminton academy in Hyderabad and coaches top and famous Indian badminton players under his wing. He is also a recipient of Arjuna Award, Padma Shri and Dronacharya Award.

  • Prakash Padukone

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Prakash Padukone is a grand legend of a grand game. This top Indian badminton player was the 1st Indian to win the All England Championships title. As a result of sheer grit, determination and passion, the former World No. 1, had won the gold medal at the 1978 Commonwealth Games and also claimed the Danish Open and the Swedish Open.

He was awarded the Arjuna Award in 1972 and the Padma Shri in 1982 by the Government of India.

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Former Indian shuttler Prakash Padukone was also conferred with the Badminton Association of India’s (BAI) 1st Lifetime Achievement Award. After the match, he was quoted as saying, “Don’t say what badminton can give you, and instead ask what you can do for badminton.”

  • Jwala Gutta

Image Source: Deccan Chronicle

Jwala Gutta is one of the best Indian badminton players in the doubles category. This power-packed athlete has clinched a lot of Indian and International medals under her belt.

Truly her shining star, her achievements include a gold medal in doubles in Delhi Commonwealth Games 2010, a silver medal in mixed doubles in Delhi Games 2010, a bronze medal in London BWF World Championship 2011 and a silver medal in 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Jwala was a top-class athlete right from her teenage years. She lifted the Junior National Championship at the age of 17 and there was no looking back after that. Jwala teamed up with Shruti Kurien to win the Doubles National Title for seven years in a row, from 2002 to 2008.

  • Saina Nehwal

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Saina Nehwal is one of the most celebrated Indian badminton players in India. Saina has worked quite a long way in her Indian badminton journey at national and international level.

She began winning tournaments right from the year 2004. She won the junior badminton championship in 2004 and later again in 2005. Saina was India’s first shuttler to win a medal at the Olympics. She has been a world no. 1, and the only Indian woman to reach the landmark. Saina has over 23 international titles to her name. Off the 23, 10 are Superseries titles. Saina is an eminent athlete who has given immense contribution in making the sport of Badminton quite popular in the country.

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With countless accolades to her name, Saina has also been a recipient of Arjuna Award, Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award.

  • Aparna Popat

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Another prominent and famous Indian badminton player is Aparna Popat. She holds the record for winning the National Senior Women’s Badminton title for the highest number of times consecutively. She has also excelled in several international badminton championships.

In her strong presence at the International badminton arena, Aparna won a silver at the World Junior Badminton Championship. She secured a Silver medal again at the Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games (1998). In that same year, she formed a new record by becoming the first Indian female player to win the French Open title. She won a Bronze at the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games and reached the Semi-Final round of the Swedish Open Badminton Tournament.

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Aparna has also received Arjuna Award for her outstanding contribution to the Indian Badminton fraternity.

  • PV Sindhu

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PV Sindhu is the shining star of the Indian Badminton. Currently, Sindhu is the No.1 badminton player as per the current rankings by BFI.

Pusarla Venkata Sindhu is the star badminton player of India. In 2016, she became the first Indian woman to win an Olympic silver medal, and 2nd the Indian badminton player to ever win an Olympic medal after Saina Nehwal. Sindhu then went on to win silver in Women’s singles at Commonwealth Games 2018. In addition to that, she also won a silver medal at the BWF World Championships in 2017 and 2018.

This badminton powerhouse is growing leaps and bound in her career. Sindhu is also a recipient of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Padma Shri and Arjuna Award.

  • Parupalli Kashyap

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Parupalli Kashyap is an Indian badminton player and currently, the top-ranked Indian male badminton player. He is also number one ranked Indian player in male singles. Having reached the quarterfinal of the London Olympics 2012, he missed winning a medal. But Parupalli is one of the strongest and a famous Indian badminton player.

His medal tally boosts of a Commonwealth Games gold medal as well. What makes all these achievements all the more special is, Kashyap’s fighting, making a subsequent victory over asthma and marking his way all the way through.

Parupalli is also a recipient of Arjuna award.

  • Srikanth Kidambi

Image Source: The Hindu

This famous Indian badminton player from Andhra Pradesh is currently one of the top players in Indian badminton.

He was the highest prize money winner in 2017, eclipsing even Lee Chong Wei and Tai Tzu Ying. Kidambi has won plenty of honours for India, including Gold Coast Gold (mixed event), Silver in the same competition’s singles event among plenty of BWF titles. He is coached by the legendary coach, Pullela Gopichand.

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An Arjuna award recipient, Kidambi was also World No. 1 in BFI rankings in April this year. Kidambi Srikanth is also a recipient of Arjuna Award.

  • Ashwini Ponnappa

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Ashwini Ponnappa Machimanda is a south Indian badminton player. She is the champion in the doubles Indian badminton circuit.

With her pair with Jwala Gutta, she has many medals at the international events. The pair has won many medals together at various international events that include the Commonwealth Games where they won a gold medal. The pair has also clinched numerous bronze medals at the Uber Cup and the Asian Badminton Championships.

The duo created history in 2011 when they became the first Indian pair and women to win a bronze medal at the BWF World Championships.

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Lover of cultures, varied colors, and underdogs, Bhawna is a by-heart and professional playwright. Hailing from a journalism & communication background, she incorporates a careful study at both flips of the coin which is essentially required to be analytical in thoughts and words. Actively abreast of the current affairs around the globe, she likes knowing and bringing into light the unexplored. Problem solving via the power of content is what inspires her and hence KreedOn, a platform created for the betterment of sports ecosystem in India, is now her happy workplace!

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