Prakash Padukone shines, Deepika and Ranveer share the moment

One legend honoured another at the Sportstar Aces Awards in Mumbai on Thursday. Prakash Padukone received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Sunil Gavaskar.

Sportstar Lifetime Achievement Award winner Prakash Padukone with his wife Ujjala Padukone, daughter Deepika Padukone and son-in-law Ranveer Singh at the Sportstar Aces Awards in Mumbai on Thursday.   -  Vivek Bendre

Deepika Padukone teared up. Her husband, Ranveer Singh, held his poise as he looked on admiringly at the stage on which the spotlight belonged to badminton giant Prakash Padukone, his father-in-law. The badminton maestro's wife sat gracefully composed.

It was in this setting of the Sportstar Aces Awards supported by Supreme Committee of Delivery and Legacy, in association with MRF, at the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai on Thursday evening that cricket legend Sunil Gavaskar gave in to his inner fanboy.


Minutes earlier, Prakash Padukone had received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Gavaskar for his contribution to badminton.


Deepika Padukone gets emotional as her father, Prakash Padukone, receives the Sportstar Aces Lifetime Achievement Award in Mumbai on Thursday.   -  Emmanual Yogini

"This is an absolute fanboy moment for me," said Gavaskar. "Only yesterday, in the evening, we were sitting next to each other watching his son-in-law's brilliant acting in the movie [Gully Boy]. I knew of course at that stage that you were getting the award. Many a time I was tempted to nudge you and say, tomorrow... but then the movie was so good. I didn't get that second to say to him.

READ: Badminton legend Prakash Padukone wins Lifetime Achievement Award

"I've always said that, without any disrespect to any of the other Indian sportspersons of the past, for me you're the greatest Indian sportsman ever." 

Gavaskar shared his thoughts on Prakash Padukone the pioneer. "At a time when the Chinese had just come back into international badminton, even the rest of the great champions in badminton were struggling to score 8 or 10 points. Prakash was beating them 15-8, 15-3 and that just tells you what a great sportsman, what a great badminton player he was.

Deepika Padukone at the Sportstar Aces Awards in Mumbai on Thursday.   -  Emmanual Yogini


"Those days the All England championship was the world championship. To win it in a matter that he did was absolutely fantastic and I think you actually paved the way for the badminton generation that we now see winning the titles all over."


Gavaskar, known for his way with words, signed off with a flourish. "You've been a role model, on the court, off the court and then now your contribution to badminton with your academy. Prakash, keep up the good work. It's been a fanboy moment for me."

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Prakash Padukone took the words in stride and responded.

"It's a great honour and privilege for me to be getting this award, specially (when it's) coming from Sunil in front of so many sporting icons. I don't think I deserve that much of praise. There are so many others who have contributed and done well. I accept this award with humility and dedicate this to all my fellow players also who played with me and contribute to the growth of Indian badminton.

Deepika Padukone shares her joy with her father, Prakash Padukone, at the Sportstar Aces Awards in Mumbai on Thursday.   -  PTI

"When I took up badminton in the 60s, especially in the southern part of India, not many knew what badminton was all about. Another sport called ball badminton was popular at the time. Badminton was played only in other parts of India and if you went to the south and said badminton, it automatically meant ball badminton. You had to specifically mention shuttle badminton," he said.

"I'm extremely delighted that I've been able to play a small part in this evolution of Indian badminton. There was a time when we (Indians) used to first check whether we're playing any Chinese or Indonesians when the draws came out. But now the time has come where the Chinese and Indonesians see if they're playing any Indians first. I think we've come a long way since then."

Prakash Padukone receives the Sportstar Aces Lifetime Achievement Award from Sunil Gavaskar in Mumbai on Thursday.   -  VIJAY SONEJI

His wife, daughter and son-in-law joined him on stage. 

An Arjuna and Padma Shri awardee, Prakash Padukone won a bronze medal at the 1974 Asian Games, gold at the 1979 Commonwealth Games and became the first Indian to win the All England Championships in 1980.

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As co-founder, with Geet Sethi, of the Olympic Gold Quest, Padukone supports more than 150 Indian athletes.

The Aces Awards are an effort to highlight the untold stories of struggle, fierce dedication and selfless work behind an athlete’s ascension, irrespective of the popularity of the sport.

The awards look to create a medium of knowledge and vision exchange as it brings all stakeholders of Indian sports under one roof.

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