Parkash Padukone: Indian badminton star
Parkash Padukone a former Indian badminton player. who dominated the national badminton scene for almost a decade (1971–80) and put India on the sport’s international map? Besides rising to the rank of World number one, he became the All-England champion in 1980, thus putting Indian badminton on the world map.
Padukone was born on 10 June 1955 in Bangalore City in Karnataka. His father, Ramesh, was a secretary of the Mysore Badminton Association. Padukone married Ujjala, as arranged by their parents in the Indian Hindu system. He has two daughters, Deepika and Anisha.
He started participating in tournaments as a child and won the Karnataka State Junior Championship. He won the national senior championship in 1971 at age 16, thereby becoming the youngest player to have achieved the feat. He won each successive national championship until 1979, setting a record of nine national titles in a row. In 1978 he won the singles badminton gold medal at the Commonwealth Games. The following year he completely dominated the top European players of his era and won both the Danish Open and the Swedish Open. His greatest accomplishment came in 1980 when he became the first Indian to win the All-England Championships, the world’s most prestigious annual badminton competition. The All England win catapulted Padukone to the number one world badminton ranking, making him the first Indian to achieve that status. He spent much of his international career training in Denmark and developed close friendships with European players such as Morten Frost.
He won the first Alba World Cup in October 1981 at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and the first Indian open prize-money tournament, the Indian Masters (now the India Open), at Pune in November. In 1982 he won the Dutch Open and the Hong Kong Open, and at the 1983 world championships, Padukone won the bronze medal in men’s badminton.
Awards And Honours
He was awarded the Arjuna award in 1972 and the Padma Shri in 1982 by the Government of India one of India’s highest civilian honours.
Padukone retired from competitive badminton in 1991.
Post-retirement he was for a short period the chairman of the Badminton Association of India. Between 1993 and 1996 he coached the Indian national badminton squad.
He also co-founded the Tata Padukone Badminton Academy in Bangalore, which has nurtured many talented players, most famously Gopi Chand who in 2001 won the All-England singles title.