Indian badminton players are true gems of the game. For decades, India has produced a slew of well-known badminton players who have brought delight and pride to fans around the country. Here is a list of the top 7 greatest and most renown badminton players of all time.
1. Nandu Netakar: Greatest Indian Badminton player
Recognised as the 'God of Indian Badminton' and also voted the most popular sportsperson of India, Natekar surely remains one of the most popular players in India's badminton history, and number one on our list of the top 7 badminton players in India. Considered as the king of his home court, Natekar made his place in the top 8 in the All-Indian Championship, and is also the recipient of the first Arjuna Award in 1961. Moreover, he is also the first Indian to achieve an Indian title in 1956.
2. Parupalli Kashyap- Best Indian Male Singles badminton player
One of the most invincible and famous Indian badminton players is Parupalli Kashyap. He was one of the top-ranked Indian male badminton players of all time. Although he fell short of winning a medal in the London Olympics 2012, he made up for it by achieving a gold medal in the Commonwealth games. This Arjuna Award recipient remains a great inspiration to all of us as he was able to be so successful despite having asthma.
3. Pullela Gopichand- Best Indian Badminton Player
One commonality in the victorious careers of the ace shuttlers of India, and world class athletes- PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and Srikanth Kidambi, is that they all have been coached by Pullela Gopichand. Having many accolades to his name, Gopichand made his international badminton debut in the year 1991, and also won an individual bronze and silver at the 1998 Commonwealth Games. Along with being only the second Indian to win the All-England Open Badminton Championship, he is also the recipient of the Arjuna Award, Padma Shri, and Dronacharya Award. This infamous Indian badminton player resorted to retirement at an early age because of numerous injuries and surgeries to his knee. However, he didn't back down and continued to build his 'Pullela Gopichand Academy' in Hyderabad- a home to the top and most famous Indian badminton players. These efforts and contributions to the development of the game have sincerely been recognised and acknowledged by the International Olympic Academy.
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4. Prakash Padukone- Pioneer of Indian badminton
The legendary Prakash Padukone and the first superstar of Indian badminton, created ever-lasting impacts in domestic Indian badminton circles. Known for the sheer determination and passion, the former World Number 1 was the first Indian male to ever win the All-England
Championship title. Mostly known as the pioneer of Indian badminton, he was also awarded the Arjuna Award in 1972 and the Padma Shri in 1982. The many feathers in his hat also include the gold medals at the Commonwealth games, Danish Open and Swedish Open. This
the former ace Indian shuttler has also been rewarded with the Badminton Association of India’s (BAI) 1st Lifetime Achievement Award.
5. Srikanth Kidambi
Being the first Indian male badminton player to win a BWF Super Series title with the 2014 China Open crown, this player from Andhra Pradesh definitely deserves the fifth position in our list. Beating senior pro Parupalli Kashyap, and attaining World No. 1 in BFI rankings, only the
second Indian to do so after Saina Nehwal, he was also awarded the Arjuna Award. Eclipsing Lee Chong Wei, Kidambi was also the player with the highest prize money in the year 2017.
Unfortunately, he suffered a knee injury that prevented his progress, but he revived his career in 2021 by becoming the first Indian man to win a silver medal at the Badminton World Championships.
6. Saina Nehwal- Revolutioniser of Indian Badminton history
The country's first Olympic medallist in badminton-Saina Nehwal, changed the landscape of badminton history. With countless accolades to her name, she will always remain to be one of the most celebrated Indian badminton players. Along with being the first Indian female singles player to win the monumental bronze in the London Olympics, she is also the first Indian woman to be ranked World no. 1. Nehwal has over 24 international titles to her name and is also the recipient of the Arjuna Award, Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award. Another feather to her cap was also being the first Indian to win a BWF Super Series title in 2009 and in 2010. Saina Nehwal is the one to dare Indian badminton to dream.
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7. PV Sindhu
This talented superstar made badminton history by being the first Indian to win the historic BWF world championship title in 2019. After ruffling the feathers at the 2014 World Championships, she went on to produce what is arguably one the best moments of her career thus far. In the 2016 Olympics in Rio, she faced a title clash with the world No. 1 Carolina Marin.
This epic match had everyone hooked, however Marin was able to display unbeatable prowess and skill through her years of experience, thereby outlasting Sindhu. However, the Olympic silver is definitely one to admire and boast about for ages.
This star never kept shining, as she continued to build on that platform by also achieving two silver medals at the world championships before winning the inaugural BWF World Tour title in 2018. Over the years, India has produced a number of outstanding players. These Indian badminton
players have taken the world by storm, smashing numerous world records, winning medals, gaining popularity, making a name for themselves as well as enriching the development of the game.
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