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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Padukone and Indian shuttlers - Kidambi Srikanth wins China Open

Kundapur is a coastal town in the Indian state of Karnataka. The name Kundapur is associated with the Kundeshwar temple in the vicinity of the Panchagangavalli river nearer Udupi. Fuzhou, the capital and one of the largest cities in Fujian province, People's Republic of China ws in news recently. For it conducted the China Open Super Series. ~ the proud winner is an Indian.

Cine goers know for sure – ‘Deepika Padukone’ the film actress and model.   This celebrity is the daughter of a famous badminton player and was born in Copenhagen. She played dual roles in her first Bollywood release—the 2007 blockbuster Om Shanti Om— and paired  Rajinikanth in the Tamil film Kochadaiiyaan.

Prakash Padukone, Pullela Gopichand, Syed Modi … some names to remember in the sporting arena of shuttlers. Prakash Padukone  hailing from Karnataka, won the All England Championship and became the first Indian to do so. Prakash was awarded the Padma Shri in 1982. He, along with Geet Sethi, has co-founded Olympic Gold Quest which is a Foundation for the Promotion of Sports in India.  Incidentally, ‘padukone’ is the name of the village in Kundapur in Karnataka. 

Lin Dan is a legend outside China too. He is a two-time Olympic champion, five-time world champion, and five-time All England champion. Considered by many to be the greatest singles player of all time, by the age of 28 Lin had completed the "Super Grand Slam", having won all nine major titles in the badminton world: Olympic Games, World Championships, World Cup, Thomas Cup, Sudirman Cup, Super Series Masters Finals, All England Open, Asian Games, and Asian Championships, becoming the first and only player to achieve this feat. Lin Dan also became the first men's singles player to retain the Olympic gold medal by winning in 2008 and defending his title in 2012. He is nicknamed "Super Dan" by his fans.

The China Open is Srikanth Nammalwar Kidambi’s first ever Super Series title win, and should be seen as an opening of floodgates for Indian badminton in the near future, considering that  he beat Dan.  Srikkanth last year had an obscure rating of 240 from which he has risen really high.   The rise to the present 13 has been sheer hard work, quality play and the guidance of Pulella Gopichand's badminton academy in Hyderabad. On a Super Sunday, the Indian shuttlers raided the dragon’s lair and came out conquerers. In what will go down as a red-lettered day for Indian badminton, Kidambi Srikanth and Saina Nehwal cornered glory at the China Open Super Series Premier in Fuzhou. This is the first time that Indian players have won both the men’s and women’s singles at a major tournament.

Srikanth accounted for the invincible Lin Dan, considered the best ever shuttler on the planet, in straight games 21-19, 21-17 to lift the men’s singles title, Saina made short work of Akane Yamaguchi of Japan 21-12, 22-20 to claim her maiden crown in China. In a contest billed between David vs Goliath, Srikanth donned the role of the former to perfection as he kept his composure and attacked when it mattered most to finish of the giant. Known for his unorthodox style of play, Srikanth showed no nerves as he worked out the Chinese superstar. Playing before the ever-demanding home crowd and carrying the hopes of millions of Chinese, Dan had a huge responsibility on his shoulders as he was the only local player left in the singles.  Srikanth took an early lead in the first game and was leading 9-4. Though Dan reduced the margin and moved ahead to 19-17, Srikanth silenced him with a four-point burst.

Aside, a brilliant career of another player - Syed Modi [eight-time National Badminton champion (1980–87)] was cut short in its prime when he was  shot dead in July 1988 as he came out of the K. D. Singh Babu Stadium, Lucknow, after a practice session.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

17th Nov. 2014.

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