Prakash Padukone is a former Indian Badminton player from Karnataka who won numerous laurels for his country in the field of Badminton. However, most of us know him as the father of Bollywood icon Deepika Padukone. It’s time that this changed and to that end, here are 5 little known facts about India’s former Badminton superstar.

#5 – Lost his first ever career match:

Prakash was initiated into the game of Badminton by his father Ramesh Padukone, who was the Secretary of the “Mysore Badminton Association” for many years. Prakash Padukone’s first official tournament was the Karnataka state junior championship in 1962. Unfortunately, however, he lost in the very first round.

Fortunately for Indian Badminton, that didn’t stop him. He changed to a more aggressive style and two years later, he managed to win the state junior title.

#4 – Dominant Badminton force of the late 70’s and early 80’s:

Already a player of national fame by the late 1970s, he achieved his first major international title in 1978 when he won the men’s singles gold medal at the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, Canada. In 1979, he won the “Evening of Champions” at the Royal Albert Hall, London.

He established himself as one of the most competitive international Badminton players and completely dominated the top European players in 1980 to win both the Danish Open and the Swedish Open.

#3 – First ever Indian World No.1 and winner of the All England Club:

It was March 23, 1980 – Liem Swie King of Indonesia had been the defending champion for the previous two years, and as the world No.1, he was the clear favourite to win a hat-trick of All England titles. King had even decided to skip the European tour events to arrive fresh to the tournament.

When Prakash Padukone won the title, his arch rival King’s dominance at the All England Club was cut-short once and for all.

My 1980 victory would undoubtedly go down as a historical event in Indian Badminton. I was delighted that I was able to win this prestigious event despite many odds. More than my personal triumph, I was happy that Indian Badminton got the recognition as a major world leader in the sport

This win catapulted Padukone to the No. 1 world Badminton ranking, making him the first Indian to achieve that status.

#2 – Padma Shri award recipient from the Indian Gov’t:

Prakash Padukone was awarded the Arjuna award for sports excellence in 1972 for being India’s pioneering Badminton star. However, his greatest honour to date is being the recipient of the Padma Shri award, {the fourth highest civilian award in the Republic of India, after the Bharat Ratna, the Padma Vibhushan and the Padma Bhushan}, in 1982 by the government of India.

#1 – India’s leading promoter of Badminton:

Fueled by passion for the game, Prakash decided to set up his own coaching center. In the early 1990s Badminton wasn’t a popular sport and it was not easy for him to get sponsors. He got lucky when BPL recognized the potential of the upcoming venture and provided support. Along with fellow Indian Badminton greats, Vimal Kumar and Vivek Kumar, Padukone launched the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy (PPBA) in October 1994.

The academy imparts world-class training and coaching to young players who are selected to the Academy on merit. It has since its inception produced multiple national and international level champions. In 2001, Prakash Padukone along with Geet Sethi, a professional player of English billiards, co-founded Olympic Gold Quest which is a Foundation for the Promotion of Sports in India.

Also read: 10 Lesser Known Facts About The Golden Girl Of Indian Badminton PV Sindhu

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