The former Indian Badminton player Prakash Padukone was born on June 10, 1955 to a Chitrapur Saraswat family in Padukone, a village near Kundapur, Udupi district, Karnataka.
Mr. Padukone was initiated into the game by his father Mr. Ramesh Padukone who had been the Secretary of Mysore Badminton Academy. Mr. Padukone‘s first official match was the Karnataka State Junior Championship in 1962, though he couldn’t manage to win the match but tried once again in 1964 and won the State Junior Title.
However, he changed his style of playing into a more aggressive style in 1971 and was successful in winning Indian National Junior Title and the Senior Title in 1972. He also was awarded by the “Arjuna Award” – the best sportsperson for the year. His hard work had led to his success and for the next seven years from 1972 he won the National Title. In the third year in 1974 he won Asian Games held at Tehran, Iran. In the seventh year he won his first International Title the men’s Singles Gold Medal at 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, Canada.
The following year he won the “Evening of Champions” at the Royal Albert Hall, London. In 1979 he won the Denmark Open Singles. As a young man he gained a lot of success. The following year in 1980 he won the Swedish Open and the Danish Open and became the first Indian to win the Men’s Singles title at the all England Championship with victory over Indonesian rival Liem Swie King even when it was a tough competition, he won the match.
He spent most of his International career in Denmark and built a close relationship with a European player, Morten Frost.
He was awarded the “Padmashree Award” in the year 1982. He, along with Geet Sethi, has co-founded the Olympic Gold Quest, which is a Foundation for Promotion of Sports in India. In 1983 he won the World Championship Singles held at Copenhagen, Denmark. In 1986 he won the World Cup Singles.
After his retirement in 1991, he became the Chairman of Badminton Association of India for a short while. After that he was the Coach for the Indian National Badminton Team from 1993 to 1996. In 1994, he started his own Badminton Academy called the “Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy” (PPBA) in Bangalore and has over the years produced multiple National and International level champions and is renowned around the country for producing world-class badminton players.
Apart from this, in his personal life he married Ujjala Padukone and has two daughters Deepika Padukone who is an actress by profession and Anisha Padukone who is a Golf player. Mr. Padukone has settled in Mumbai with his family. He has been, he is and he will always be an inspiration to us, the younger generation.
(An article by Sharon Ebenezer Raj)