Legendary badminton player Nandu Natekar, the first Indian to win an international title in 1956, died here on Wednesday. The 88-year-old, who won over 100 national and international titles in his career, was suffering from age-related ailments.
He is survived by his son Gaurav and two daughters. “He passed away peacefully at home and we were all with him and he has been ailing for the last three months and he passed away peacefully," Gaurav told to PTI.
Shri Nandu Natekar has a special place in India’s sporting history. He was an outstanding badminton player and a great mentor. His success continues to motivate budding athletes. Saddened by his demise. My thoughts are with his family and friends in this sad hour. Om Shanti.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 28, 2021
Natekar, who was considered one of most popular sportspersons of his time, was also a former World number three. Born in Sangli in western Maharashtra, Natekar won over 100 national and international titles in a career spanning over 15 years. He was also conferred with the prestigious Arjuna Award in 1961.
“With deepest sorrow, we would like to inform you that our beloved father Nandu Natekar passed away on 28th July, 2021," The Natekar family said in a message. “Keeping in mind the COVID-19 guidelines, we will not be having a condolence meeting. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers." In his distinguished career, Natekar made it to the quarterfinals of the prestigious All England Championships in 1954 and became the first Indian player to win an international event when he claimed the Sellanger International in Malaysia in 1956. He was also won 12 out of the 16 singles matches and 8 out of 16 in doubles as part of the Indian team at the Thomas Cup between 1951 and 1963. He also had the distinction of leading the country in the tournament in 1959, 1961 and 1963. He had also represented India at the 1965 Commonwealth Games in Jamaica.