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Padukone to Sindhu – India’s World Championship Medal Winners

The World Badminton Championships in Nanjing, China from Monday is another opportunity for India to stake its claim as one of the sport’s rising powerhouses. Indian players have had a chequered history at the event, with a long between their first medal in 1983 to the their next on 2011. Since then, there have been a few more of course and News18 Sports takes a look at India’s success stories at the Badminton’s most coveted tournament.

Madhav Agarwal | News18 Sports

Updated:July 27, 2018, 10:05 AM IST
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Padukone to Sindhu – India’s World Championship Medal Winners
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The World Badminton Championships in Nanjing, China from Monday is another opportunity for India to stake its claim as one of the sport’s rising powerhouses. Indian players have had a chequered history at the event, with a long between their first medal in 1983 to the their next on 2011. Since then, there have been a few more of course and News18 Sports takes a look at India’s success stories at the Badminton’s most coveted tournament.

Prakash Padukone, Bronze (1983)


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Padukone has a long list of firsts in Indian badminton to his name, be it winning the All England Championship in 1980 or a World Cup gold 1981. He was the one who put the country on the badminton map and was a lone Indian warrior in a sport dominated by the Danes and the Chinese. One of the biggest achievements of his career was clinching a bronze at the 1983 World Championships in Denmark. In the semi-final match against Indonesia’s Icuk Sugiarto, Padukone won the first game 15-9, but eventually lost the closely-fought match.

Jwala Gutta/ Ashwini Ponnappa, Bronze (2011)


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In an era when singles shuttlers grabbed all the headlines, the pair of Gutta/ Ponnappa surprised one and all by bagging a bronze at the 2011 World Championships in London. The two dominated the doubles scene in India for a good 5-6 years and became a combination to be feared. At World Championships seven summers ago, they broke a 28-year drought for India by clinching bronze. Gutta and Ponappa had a tough draw and faced Chinese duo of Tian Qing and Yunlei in the semi-finals, losing the match in straight games. The consolation of course was that they returned home with India’s only doubles medal at the games so far.

PV Sindhu, Bronze (2013)


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While Saina Nehwal took Indian badminton to unprecedented heights in SuperSeries tournaments, it was compatriot Sindhu who made a breakthrough at the World Championships. Having entered the senior circuit in 2012, then 18-year old Sindhu had shown signs of her talent by defeating London Olympics gold medalist Li Xuerui. Next year she improved her game considerably and entered the Championship as world no 12. She stunned second seed Wang Yihan and Wang Shixian en route semis. Sindhu’s giant-killing spree was ended by eventual winner Ratchanok Intanon 10-21, 13-21.

PV Sindhu, Bronze (2014)


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Showing the world that her bronze medal the previous year was no fluke, Sindhu repeated the feat at the 2014 championships in Denmark. The Hyderabadi entered the competition on the back of some strong performances. Seeded eleventh, Sindhu yet again got the better of Chinese Wang Shixian in three hard-fought games in the quarters. History repeated itself as the lanky Indian lost in the semis again — this time against Spain’s Carolina Marin 17-21, 15-21. Despite the loss it was a monumental effort by Sindhu as she became first in the country to win back-to-back medals at World Championships.

Saina Nehwal, Silver (2015)


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While Sindhu was training at Pullela Gopichand Academy, Nehwal relocated to Bangalore and moved out of coach Gopichand’s shadows for the first time in her career. The move to work under a new coach in Vimal Kumar paid instant dividends. Before 2015, Nehwal had a long list of achievements to her CV, but a World Championship medal had stayed elusive. Nehwal entered the tournament as the world no 1 and lived up to expectations by reaching the final with ease. But pressure got the better of her in the final as she lost to Carolina Marin 16-21, 19-21.

Saina Nehwal, Bronze (2017)


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Nehwal’s bronze in the 2017 World Championships was all about grit. Laid low by a career-threatening injury during the 2016 Rio Olympics, Nehwal had a tough convalescence phase. By her own admission she had given up hopes of recovering fully and even contemplated giving up the sport. She had a mediocre All England Championship by her own standards and lost in the quarters. No one gave her a chance to proceed to the medal rounds at the World Championships too. But Nehwal dug deep to make it to the semis. In the penultimate match against Nozomi Okuhara, the Indian lost 21-12, 17-21, 10-21. After her effort, Nehwal returned to the Gopichand Academy for a second stint.

PV Sindhu, Silver (2017)


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The 2017 World Championships in Glasgow was one of the high points of Indian badminton. Not only was it about Nehwal’s resurgence, but also the way Sindhu continued to dominate the women’s singles. The 22-year-old returned to her favourite competition with a sliver this time. Having won the Indian Superseries already, SIndhu was in blistering form. She didn’t have much trouble en route to the final. However, it was Nozomi Okuhara who came out tops in the physically draining final battle. In a match that lasted close to two hours, there was no clear winner till the very last point of the match. Both players displayed exemplary stamina and the will to win. In the end Okuhara won 19-21, 22-20, 22-20 to deny Sindhu gold.
| Edited by: Madhav Agarwal
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