India is always seen as a nation that produces one star after another in the field of cricket. Sports in our country usually revolves around this colonial era game.
But this image of ours as a “cricket frenzy nation” is slowly changing since badminton has come into the picture.
A sport can only hold the audience’s attention if it is something that appeals to the people at many levels while simultaneously being something they can have an easy access to play it themselves. Badminton satisfies all of these conditions. So is badminton becoming the next cricket?
BEEN AROUND FOR MANY YEARS
The emergence of India as a competent power in badminton dates back to the time of Prakash Padukone and Pullela Gopichand. Both these players won the All England Open in 1980 and 2001 respectively.
We all remember playing this sport in our background but never getting those forehand and backhand drives correct. But why then badminton got this recognition so late?
The reason lies in the fact that not many people took up badminton as a sport. The government was also not too much interested in building a sound infrastructure.
Badminton was rarely seen as a professional sport. It was considered to be some kind of leisure activity to be undertaken if the person was almost on the verge of death due to cricket overdose.
CUT TO THE CURRENT SCENARIO
Saina Nehwal, P.V Sindhu, Srikanth, Parupalli Kashyap; have all become household names. These badminton players have all become stars, thanks to the numerous brands they have been endorsing. The billboards have not been only ruled by Virat Kohli and his men in blue. These racquet bearing sportspersons are doing everything right to become heroes; both on and off the field.
WHAT BROUGHT IN THIS CHANGE
Badminton owes its success in India to only one man. Pullela Gopichand, the Man with a magic racquet. This star coach has trained every budding badminton player in India and they have never failed him. His methods are mostly modern. They all focus on building speed, agility, and accuracy. His constant hard work has made sure that badminton doesn’t remain a sport where India shows rare sparks of brilliance.
The shift started in the early decade of the 21st century. India started to become the force that could take on the might of China, Malaysia, and Chinese-Taipei.
Then came the alpha player of this game for India. The flag bearer of India’s constant strides in this game. Saina Nehwal.
She made it look so easy to win game after game. Her constant success made the nation believe in her and the sport. When she won the bronze medal in 2012, she made it more or less clear that badminton had officially arrived.
Other players like P.V Sindhu, followed up with a 2016 Rio Olympics silver medal. K Srikanth has been tasting massive success in this game with the win in French Open Super Series being the latest feather in his cap. With such amazing players in the foray, it is safe to say that future of badminton is really bright in our country.
India has been galvanized before too with certain sports events in the history. With world-class training and diet available to the budding players, badminton is sure to smash cricket out of the stadium soon in terms of popularity and following.
Image credits: Google
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