On this day 40 years back, renowned shuttler Prakash Padukone came into light as he changed the scenario of Indian Badminton by becoming the first Indian to win the All England Open.
Prakash was only 24 when he defeated, ”The King of Indonesia, Liem Swie” by a 15-3, 15-10 margin at the Wembley Stadium on March 23, 1980.
Padukone was just the second Indian to reach the final of the tournament after Prakash Nath, who had lost in the final of the 1947 edition to Denmark’s Conny Jepsen.
It was then said that for the years to come, this was considered as the best performance by an Indian Shutter before the current Head Coach of the National Team, Pullela Gopichand managed to emulate him in 2001.
In an interview with ESPN, during the 2017 edition of the All England Open, Padukon laid emphasis about how he won the final, he said, “I would make him move just a fraction of a second late because I was holding back my stroke. If he was expecting a toss, I would play a drop. If he was expecting a drop, I would play a stroke. He couldn’t anticipate and stand there and be in an attacking position.”
It was said that both the finalists made a great build-up for the final as both Padukone and King were undefeated in the tournament. Padukone didn’t even drop a set in his campaign.
When Prakash won the Championship, he was ranked 3rd in the world and had entered the tournament after winning Denmark Open and Swedish Open.
Recently, India’s most rated badminton star & reigning world champion P.V. Sindhu was knocked out in quarterfinal, earlier this month.
In the last 9 years since Saina Nehwal revived the sport in India again, we have a World Championship, Two Olympic Medals and Multiple World Championship Medals against our name. Other players like Sindhu, Kidambi Srikant & Sai Praneeth has taken over the mantel since Padukone’s retirement.
Prakash’s Daughter and Bollywood star, Deepika Padukone has also praised her father’s achievement by tweeting, ‘Pappa, Your contribution to Badminton and Indian Sport is immeasurable! Thank You for your inspiring display of dedication, discipline, determination and years of hard work! They don’t make you like you anymore… We love you and are proud of you! Thank You for being you!❤ ‘
As considered by all sports pundits and fans we can say that Padukone’s All England title is the biggest milestone in the history of Badminton in India.