Blog By: Riya Rathore

Aparna Popat is an Indian Badminton Player and is considered to be one of the All Time Greatest female Badminton players India has ever produced. She holds a record for holding the National Senior Womens Badminton title for maximum number of times consecutively, and has delivered excellent performance at many International Badminton Championships. She was born on the 18th of January 1978 at Mumbai to Lalji Popat and Hema Popat, a Gujarati couple. Aparna received her education at the J.B. Pelit School and and Mt Carmel College, Bangalore. Further, she earned herself a degree in Commerce from the Mumbai University. Every professional or profession is likely to assume a set pattern over the years. The interpretations, reactions and responses to challenges become somewhat stereotyped and can be easily anticipated by opponents. This not only makes one lose the edge, but can also bring about monotony. I realized early that the only way to keep monotony at bay was to find a way to do things differently across different facets of the sport. While alterations in playing technique and physical prowess had their limitations, it was the mind that was more flexible and hence could be used as a tool for innovation. To become more innovative, I realized I needed intense practice so that my movements and strokes became intuitive. What this did was free up my mind to innovate on various playing strategies. So while others would finish their practice session and leave, I would stay back and practice my strokes and footwork techniques innumerable times till I felt I had perfected them—till they became muscle memory that could be called upon during a game without much conscious effort. She was the original undisputed queen of Indian badminton – two time Olympian, nine time National champ and Arjuna Award winner Aparna Popat was the top ranked player in the country even when she hung up her racket in 2006 after a glorious career spanning 17 years. She’s back in the hurly burly of competitive sports again as the coach of the Indian Badminton League franchise Mumbai Masters, he Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy is the place where Aparna Popat got her training. Before joining this Academy in the year 1994, Aparna Popat was training under Anil Pradhan who was a National Doubles Champion. Aparna Popat was the winner of the 1998 French Open. Also, in the same year Aparna Popat bagged a silver medal for her outstanding performance in the Commonwealth Games held at Kuala Lumpur.

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