Our reader Niharika Jadeja shares why she believes that this is an amazing period for Badminton in India, and her hopes for the future.
The spectacular achievements of Indian Badminton players have delighted the entire country lately. Saina Nehwal recently acquired the World No. 1 Ranking, PV Sindhu won a bronze medal in the Badminton World Championships and Kidambi Srikant beat Lin Dan, the highest ranked Chinese in the men’s singles world ranking list, in the China Open. These successes are certainly marvellous feats, and result in the conclusion that badminton, as a sport, is growing and gaining popularity.
Credit for the increase in the sport’s popularity can be given to the increase in television coverage, which results in a larger number of people being exposed to badminton matches and becoming more aware of the happenings in the latest badminton tournaments.
There was also an increase in the number of Indians playing the sport, who seemed to be inspired by Saina Nehwal winning the first Olympic medal in badminton for India at the London 2012 Olympics.
The growth in badminton associations and the financial assistance given by the Government to such associations is also credited for the increasing fame of the sport. Pullela Gopichand is acknowledged for producing India’s finest badminton players – Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth and Parupalli Kashyap – all of whom he trained at the Gopichand Badminton Academy in Hyderabad.
Saina Nehwal has been the main representative of badminton in India for around seven years now. Her attaining the status of becoming the ‘World’s Number 1 player’ led to much rejoicing and, I think, marks the beginning of a new and exciting phase of competitive badminton in India.
Unfortunately, it seems that it is easier to become No. 1 than it is to remain No. 1. Saina lost her World No. 1 title within a week of attaining it, by losing in the semi-final of the Malaysia Open. This just goes to show how extremely competitive this sport is, especially in Asia. Despite losing the ranking, Saina is not disheartened and continues to remain positive. She believes that rankings are merely numbers and are unimportant, and that what really matters is that she has been playing consistently.
Photo courtesy: sportsrediscovered.com
More and more Indian sportspersons are becoming better at their game, earning more accolades and gaining quite a fan following. It is a fact that it isn’t just Saina but other greats like Sindhu, Srikanth, Prannoy and Kashyap – players of international repute – who are also doing extremely well in the sport, that has led to this period being referred to as the “Golden Age of Badminton in India.”
Currently, we have five outstanding players who represent India, and are in the top twenty world rankings of badminton across both men’s and women’s singles.
The current set of Indian players show great promise in the sport of badminton. These five outstanding Indians who have taken India to where it is in the sport today ought to inspire newer badminton stars to come up and take the country to higher levels. They will inspire today and train the new stars of tomorrow, cementing India’s place in the competitive world of international badminton.
– Niharika Jadeja