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Top 10 Famous Badminton Players in India

famous badminton players in India

Badminton, a racket sport that originated in England, is one of the Olympic sports disciplines that has gained popularity in India since the turn of the century.
The diversification of sports in India has opened the way for more sports lovers to access events, domestic tournaments, media exposure, coverage, and success on international platforms.
In that sense, it is difficult to regard badminton as the most popular sport for Indian fans.
Badminton in India was mostly a pastime activity for urban youth until P. V. Sindhu and Saina Nehwal, two of the most talented Indian badminton players, popularised the sport in the past two decades.
But the Indian badminton history dates back to other talented players as well.
To know more about those talented Indian players and their inspiring stories, here are the top 10 most famous badminton players in India:

10. Nandu M Natekar

first Indian badminton player

The Badminton legend Nandu Natekar is a former Indian badminton national champion.
He was born on 12 May 1933 in Sangli and completed his education at Ramnarain Ruia Autonomous College in Mumbai.
He won over 100 national and international titles for India in his championship career of 15 years.
He was the first Indian shuttler to win a title abroad in 1956. He also won the Arjuna Award in 1961, which is the highest honor for Indian athletes.
He was part of the Indian team that won the bronze medal in the Thomas Cup in 1954 in Malaysia, which is a renowned badminton tournament.
Apart from sports, he is a director of the Natekar Sports and Fitness center and is enjoying his retired life.

9. Parupalli Kashyap

best badminton player in India

Parupalli Kashyap is a smasher, which means he uses powerful strokes to win points.
He represented India at the 2012 London Olympics, where he reached the quarter-final in men’s singles.
For this remarkable achievement, he was awarded the Arjuna Award in 2012, which is the highest honor for Indian athletes.
Parupalli Kashyap was trained at the Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy, which is run by one of the greatest Indian badminton players and coaches, Pullela Gopichand.
His achievements include winning the gold medal in men’s singles and the silver medal in the mixed team at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
He was also an iconic player in the Indian Badminton League representing Banga Beats in 2013.

8. Chetan Anand

Indian badminton players name

Chetan Anand is a four-time national champion in men’s singles, having won the title in 2004, 2007, 2008, and 2010.
He also won the South Asian Games men’s singles championship three times, in 2004, 2006, and 2010.
He was ranked as the 10th best badminton player in the world by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) in 2009. 
In 2006, Anand was awarded the Arjun Award for his consistently stellar Performance in Commonwealth Games.
Chetan won his first senior tournament victory in the Asian Satellite Tournament in 2001.
In 2005, he married Jwala Gutta (another top badminton player) till their divorce in 2010, and in 2012, Chetan then got married Sarada Govardhini Jasti.

7. Jwala Gutta

Indian badminton players female

Jwala Gutta is a women’s doubles and mixed doubles specialist who has represented India at the international level since the 1990s.
With a career total of 316 match wins, she holds the highest number of victories by any professional player in India.
She has also achieved the sixth spot in the world ranking, which is the highest by any Indian female player.
Her achievements include the bronze medal at the 2011 World Badminton Championships in London and eventually becoming India’s best-ever women’s doubles shuttler.
Jwala Gutta also received the Arjuna Award in 2011.
She launched her badminton academy in Hyderabad, called the Jwala Gutta Academy of Greatness, which is located on the Sujatha High School premises and has 14 courts.
Jwala got married in 2005 to Chetan Anand but got divorced in 2011, and now she is dating Tamil Actor Vishnu Vishal.
Gutta has had a successful career in badminton, forming a formidable women’s doubles pair with Ashwini Ponnappa, with whom she won numerous medals and titles for India.

6. Aparna Popat

top badminton players in India

Aparna Popat is the only player who has won all the senior national championships in women’s singles, also known as the Indian National Badminton Championships, from 1997 to 2006, for a record nine times.
She has had a sporting career of around 17 years, full of many titles and awards, and played with dignity and a high level of skill since the beginning.
She was the only female player from India to participate in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, where she reached the pre-quarterfinals in women’s singles.
She also represented India in the Asian Games in 1998 and 2002 and was the top badminton player in India at that time.
Aparna attended a mentorship program by the US Department of State and ESPN in 2014, which aimed to uplift the sports opportunities for underserved women and girls worldwide.

5. Srikanth Kidambi

Indian badminton players male

Srikanth Kidambi, a renowned Indian badminton player, was born and raised in Andhra Pradesh, southern India.
Trained at the Gopichand Badminton Academy by the legendary player and coach, Pullela Gopichand, Kidambi’s career has been marked by significant achievements.
He had a career full of ups and downs, but his hard work paid off.
In 2014, he made a remarkable entry into the elite badminton world by securing his first Super Series title at the China Open.
His outstanding performance led to several accolades, including the Arjuna Award in 2015 and the Padma Shri in 2018, which are the highest civilian awards for Indian athletes.
Notably, he achieved the world No. 1 ranking by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) in 2018, maintaining a record as the best men’s singles player.
He won a 4-1 victory over Kazakhstan in the opening group match of the Badminton Asia Team Championships 2020, which is a continental team tournament.
He is one of the country’s best shuttlers by winning the maximum number of Super Series titles (the highest by an Indian male player), placing himself among Indian badminton’s greats.

4. Saina Nehwal

badminton champion in India

Saina Nehwal is a former world No. 1 in women’s singles and has represented India at the Olympic Games three times, in 2008, 2012, and 2016.
Notably, she was the first Indian to win two women’s singles gold medals at the Commonwealth Games, in 2010 in Delhi and 2018 in Gold Coast.
She is one of the most successful Indian sportspeople and has contributed to the growing popularity of badminton in India. 
She was the first Indian shuttler to win an Olympic medal when she won the bronze medal in women’s singles at the 2012 London Olympics.
Her list of firsts also includes being the only Indian player to win the BWF World Junior Championship, which she did in 2008 in Pune and was the first Indian to win a 4-star tournament, which is a high-level badminton tournament, and the youngest Asian to achieve this feat, when she won the Philippine Open in 2006.
With over 24 international competition wins, including 11 Super Series titles, Nehwal’s career has been nothing short of extraordinary.
Nehwal began her career in 2009 by winning her first Super Series title at the Indonesia Open. She continued her winning streak by securing victories at the Indian Open and the Singapore Open in 2010, where she successfully defended her title

3. PV Sindhu

top 10 Indian badminton players list

PV Sindhu is another professional badminton Player who made her debut in the year 2009. She was born on 5th July 1995 and brought up in Hyderabad.

PV Sindhu made history on August 25, 2019, by becoming the first Indian badminton player to receive a gold medal in the BWF World Championships.
Popularly known as PV, Pusarla Venkata Sindhu is celebrated for her extraordinary commitment, service to the nation, and pragmatic approach.
She also became the first Indian woman player to win an Olympic silver medal.
Following in the footsteps of Saina Nehwal, Sindhu is the only player to have achieved the 2nd position in badminton.
At the All England Open Badminton Championships 2020, PV Sindhu’s defeat in the quarter-finals against Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara paved the way for Okuhara’s path to the semifinals.
Okuhara’s path to the semifinals was anything else than easy, as PV Sindhu won the last-eight tie quickly.
PV Sindhu’s momentum seemed unstoppable but Nozomi Okuhara’s subtle changes in her strategy shifted the tide in her favor during their quarter-final match.
In the second game, Okuhara’s shorter serves forced Sindhu to open up her game, which ultimately led to the Japanese player’s victory.
Regardless of England championships, everyone acknowledged that Sindhu remains a serious contender in the sport.
Her quickness on the court has surprised many top performers.
Apart from a playing career, she also has endorsement deals with JBL, Nokia, Bridgestone Tyres, Gatorade sports drink, health drink boost, and sanity pad Stayfree.
Pusarla made the list of Forbes’ highest-paid female athletes in 2018 and 2019 with earnings of $8.5 million and $5.5 million, respectively.
She is the recipient of the sports honor, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, and the Padma Shri, and was also honored with Padma Bhushan in January 2020. She is also a brand ambassador of the central reserve police force (CRPF) and Vizag Steel.
PV Sindhu alongside Saina is regarded as the greatest Indian female badminton player of all time.

2. Pullela Gopichand

Indian shuttle players

Pullela Gopichand is the Chief National Coach for the Indian Badminton Team, and a legend in the world of badminton, as his career is full of titles and awards.
Coach Pullela is the only player after Prakash Padukone to win the All England Open Badminton Championship. He won it in 2001 in Birmingham, England.
He also runs an academy named the Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy, where he nurtures the talent of the learners.
Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy is the best badminton academy in India and trains many badminton players (including over 50% of this list) to excel in national and international tournaments.
He was awarded the Arjuna Award in 1999, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna in 2001, the Padma Bhushan in 2005, and the Dronacharya Award in 2009.
He has established an effective process with the Badminton Association of India (BAI), which is the governing body of badminton in India, that regularly churns out talent with him as the national coach.
Most regard Pullela Gopichand as the best badminton player in India, considering his winning statistics and competition.

1. Prakash Padukone

no 1 badminton player in India

Prakash Padukone’s career began with making India proud as he was the first Indian professional badminton player to win the All England Open Badminton Championship.
In 1980, he became the first Indian to win the prestigious tournament in London, England.
He also reached the world No. 1 ranking in badminton the same year and trained for international matches in Denmark, where he faced many European players.
He was the first badminton champion in India, a country where the sport was virtually unknown at that time.
After retiring from playing in 1991, Padukone remained active in the sport as the chairman of the Badminton Association of India (BAI) for a short term.
He has two daughters: Anisha, a professional golf player, and Deepika, an actress.

The rich history of badminton in India has been shaped by legendary players who have achieved remarkable feats on the international stage.
From Prakash Padukone, the first Indian to win the All England Open Badminton Championship, to the trailblazing performances of Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu, and Kidambi Srikanth, these players have not only elevated the sport in India but have also inspired a new generation of badminton enthusiasts.
Their contributions have been instrumental in putting Indian badminton on the global map, and their legacy continues to inspire and influence the future of the sport in the country.

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