Prakash: ‘I hope stars taking part in Nationals becomes a permanent feature’

Former India shutter and All England champion Prakash Padukone believes Indian badminton is going through a golden era under a group of expert coaches, supported by academies and the media.

Badminton legend Prakash Padukone making a point in Nagpur on the sidelines of an event on Sunday.   -  V.V. SUBRAHMANYAM

Badminton legend Prakash Padukone feels that Indian badminton is going through a golden era and it can only get better in the days to come given the kind of support coming from all fronts.

Speaking on the sidelines of an event here on Sunday, the former All England champion says that the sport as such is getting more support with so many foundations, academies coming up and also the fact that, Badminton Association of India, Sports Authority of India and the Government of India have been doing a great job in promoting the sport.

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“I think it all started with the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi in terms of badminton getting the media glare it deserved like many other disciplines. And the best part is the shuttlers are producing the results,” he said.

“It is a great to see the big stars compete in the Senior Nationals. This gives not only a huge fillip to the young talent but also helps organisers bag sponsorships,” the 62-year-old said.

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“These big stars have a responsibility and it is important for them to take a few days out for Nationals. I hope the stars taking part will be a permanent feature,” the champion shuttler of yesteryears added.

“It is not just about a particular player like Kidambi Srikanth. The Indians in general are getting many things right, like all-round game, training, exposure, improving skills quickly and the wonderful support system of qualified coaches taking care of every aspect,” Prakash said when asked about the champion shuttler’s achievements.

“After Mulyo (Indonesian coach Mulyo Handoyo) joined the Indian camp, there has been a big change, rapid improvement in results especially in men’s singles. Gopi has also been contributing in his own way. But again, I feel there is a good team of coaches working in tandem and the results are there for all to see,” the badminton legend said.

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Commenting on Lakshya Sen (last year’s runner-up in the Senior Nationals), Prakash felt he was still young and had a long way to go. “He is one of the most promising shuttlers in the country. A very good talent. Interesting to see that the big stars in men’s circuit are also pretty young. We are glad that the reserve bench too is very strong for us right now,” he said.