“Beautiful Control Once Again, We Have 24 Year Old Prakash Padukone crushing the Liem King of Indonesia. Beautiful Shot and ‘The King Is Dethroned’ by the Indian coup. Prakash Padukone becomes the first time champion of the All England Men’s Single Championship”.
This was the voice behind Prakash Padukone when he became the first Indian to win a badminton championship. The crowd cheered relentlessly in the iconic Wembley Stadium for only India’s badminton supremo, Prakash Padukone.
‘The Best Loser’
If one were to ask the question of how Badminton became so instilled in his life, the quick, short answer would be his idol, his father, Ramesh Padukone!
“There was no Badminton in Bangalore. My father was one of the first secretaries to the Mysore State Badminton Association (MSBA).
Prakash Padukone started playing the game randomly, with his older brother Pradeep. It never crossed his mind that he would take the game seriously! His father would hold tournaments and play regularly. Prakash and Pradeep would tag alongside him. Slowly and gradually he fell in love with the game.
The legend remembers his early days “I played my first tournament at the age of seven! This happened in 1962. At that time, there were not many age groups, players were divided into two, above and under 18. This means that even if you are 9 years old, you may have to play with someone who is 18 years old. ”
“I still remember when I played my first tournament at Century Club and had to play with an 18-year-old. I have never forgotten his name, Gurudutt Rao. The defeat was so bad and I started to cry because I wanted to win. But the organizers were so impressed with my game that they gave me a trophy for the “Best Loser. ”
The determination of Prakash Padukone’s victory was evident from that very moment. Although he lost his first match in his first tournament, he did not give up and decided to go on a winning rally.
Prakash Padukone’s Training Days
With many badminton academies available for aspiring players today, there weren’t many for Prakash Padukone. But his father was a coach aka guide for him that set a great foundation.
Prakash won his first U-18 tournament when he was 12 years old. By the age of 15, he had already won 5 state championships. He has an unbreakable record of winning 9 senior national titles for 9 years in a row.
“I have just worked hard and determined to do better, learn from my mistakes, and the few other qualities a champion needs to have, dedication, focus, concentration, and analytical ability.”
Unable to get formal training, everything he tried was some kind of training drill. He got a chance to look at his seniors and analyze their playstyle, which he implemented in-game very well.
Owning The Entire World In His Court
Prakash Padukone began representing the country at an early age. He represented India in the Thomas Cup before he turned 18.
He got a chance to watch how different players from all over the world play. It helped him, by watching closely and trying to piece together some strategies that he felt would improve his game.
With a ton of hard work and determination, a door unlocked for Prakash Padukone! An opportunity to train with the Indonesian people, who are still considered the best badminton players in the world. The bank he was working for at the time helped partially to fund a six-week camp. The camp that led to major changes in the context of Indian and Global Badminton!
”Before the All England Championship, I had traveled with Syed Modi to Indonesia and trained with their national team. That helped to improve my fitness and my body greatly. At the All England Open, I defeated Indonesian star Liem Swie King in the final. Indonesians have never trained anyone abroad since then! ”
During the Indonesian training, he quickly realized what was missing from his game and began slowly assembling improvements. He understood the true value of strength training and added that to his training sphere.
Less than six months after returning from camp, he won a medal at the Commonwealth Games, followed by a few other titles. The latter included the prestigious All England Championship trophy.
1980 :: Prakash Padukone Gets Hero’s Welcome After Winning All England Open Badminton Championship pic.twitter.com/9NxDVJZWOV— indianhistorypics (@IndiaHistorypic) May 13, 2022
Prakash hung his boots when he was 34 years old. With a farewell statement, “This Sports seeks physical demand. Having played for 18 years in the national circuit, It’s time for me to be fine myself in a different role.” Prakash as a player bid adieu to finally return as a coach.
The Indian Government awarded his contribution to the sport by conferring him Arjuna Award in 1972. Followed by Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award.
Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy
‘Badminton For All’ with this vision Prakash Padukone’s coaching career started, As of now, PPBA has implemented several projects to bring out champions in the world of badminton. The scarcity of resources and non-availability of professional guidance affected him a lot, he doesn’t want the younger generations of sportspeople to feel that in any way.
Exposure to playing with foreign players, training with them, and learning from them would be an advantage for them. That is what he did. He provided a setup for players all around the nation to join and train together.
With many alliances he made during his career, he employed all those in fruitful conversion to make better players. Be it joining hands with Canara Union hall to becoming a part of the Padukone-Dravid center for sports excellence. His mission to popularise badminton in the entire nation is a case study of its own.
To Know More About Prakash Padukone, visit his website
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