Memory in sports is always an hindrance. While we remember Pullela Gopichand for his heroics in the All England Championships, the memories of Prakash Padukone’s historic win is fading away slowly.
Records come and go but one that stays for a lifetime is the one which is remembered. Prakash Padukone owns one such record, that of becoming the first badminton player from India to win the All England Championship in 1980, beating one of the best player in the world at that time, Liem Swie King of Indonesia.
And this was one dominant win. In the 1978 edition of the tournament, the loser in 1980, Liem Swie King had won the final with the same scoreline 15-10 and 15-3. The scoreline with which Padukone beat him in 1980 was 15-3, 15-10. History has literally repeated itself, only that it was not sweet to King. The King this time around was Prakash Padukone.
As his first name suggests, Prakash was that light which guided many towards taking up badminton. 21 years after his feat, it was another young gun Pullela Gopichand travelled to England, following the same ray of light.
Prakash Padukone took up badminton because of his father Ramesh Padukone who was the Secretary of the Mysore Badminton Association. After winning the National Junior and Senior titles in 1972, he continued the winning streak for the next seven years. All England Championship win made all the hard work pay off.