Legend shuttler Prakash Padukone was on Monday conferred with the life time achievement award by Badminton Association of India (BAI) for his outstanding contribution to the sport at a glittering function, here.
“It is a great honour and privilege to receive this lifetime achievement award in its inaugural year because I am the first recipient of this award,” said Padukone during his acceptance speech.
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“I would also like to remember the support given by BAI and my state association, the Karnataka Badminton Association at that time inspite of having limited resources. Thanks to family, parents, sibling, wife and daughters without whom I would not have become the administrator, the coach, or the person that people have known me to be. I share this award with all the other players who played with me and also with my family,” he added.
The 1980 All England Champion said he played the sport only for the love of it and never thought about any remunerations. “I played badminton at a time when not many knew what the sport was all about. I am glad to have played a small part in what the game has achieved today. I played purely for the love of the game without expecting anything in return,” Padukone said.
“I did not play badminton to make money, to win awards or rewards, or to make my parents happy or please anyone else. I only played for my own satisfaction and to see how much I can challenge myself despite there being no facilities. Today I have no regrets because I know I could not have achieved anything more than what I did, given the circumstances prevailing at that time.”
Padukone, who had also won the Danish Open and Swedish Open in 1980, expressed satisfaction at the way badminton has progressed in the country. “I am extremely delighted with the way badminton has progressed since I started playing in 1960s,” he said.
“The number of new players taking up the sport every year, the new infrastructure facilities coming all over the country, sponsorship opportunities, increase in the number of tournaments played and conducted every year, consistently good performances by India’s top players are, in my opinion, some of the reasons that have gone on to make badminton the second most popular sport in the country after cricket,” he added.