Prakash Padukone is an Indian former badminton player who co-founded Olympic Gold Quest with Geet Sethi. The foundation aims at the promotion of sports in India. A well-known player from the state of Karnataka, he won the All England Championship in 1980 and became the first Indian to do so. His win proved to be the catalyst that eventually propelled badminton to the status of one of the most popular sports in India. He also has several other glorious titles to his name: World Cup, World Grand Prix, Danish and Swedish Opens. His passion for the game remained as intense even after his retirement and he proceeded to set up India’s first privately-managed badminton academy, the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy. He also served as the coach of the Indian national badminton team from 1993 to 1996.
Padukone’s first official tournament was the Karnataka state junior championship in 1962. Though he lost in the very first round, two years later he managed to win the state junior title. He changed his playing style into a more aggressive style in 1971, and won the Indian national junior title in 1972. He also won the senior title the same year. He won the National title consecutively for the next seven years. In 1978, he won his first major international title, 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.
Prakash was initiated into the game by his father Ramesh Padukone, who was the Secretary of the “Mysore Badminton Association” for many years.
After his retirement from competitive sports in 1991, Padukone served as the chairman of the Badminton Association of India for a short while. He also served as the coach of the Indian national badminton team from 1993 to 1996.
Awards & Achievements
- He was awarded the Arjuna award for his sporting achievements in 1972.
- In 1982 he was honored with Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award in India, for his contributions to sports.