All England Badminton Open: India's best performances in history
A look at the best performances by Indian shuttlers at the prestigious All England Badminton Open.
The All England Open is the oldest tournament in the history of badminton. With its first-ever edition held way back in 1898, it is considered to be one of the most prestigious tournaments in the sport.
Over the years, India has registered some very memorable performances at the All England Open.
Here, we take a look at a few such performances:
Prakash Nath (Runner-up 1947)
Prakash Nath became the first-ever Indian to reach the final of the All England Badminton Open, when he made it to the men’s singles summit clash in 1947.
He was slated to play a fellow Indian Devinder Mohan in the quarterfinal, but the duo agreed not to play the match against each other. The winner was eventually decided on the basis of a coin toss, which Nath won to proceed into the semifinal.
He then defeated local favourite Radford in the semifinal before losing to Denmark’s Conny Jepsen in the final.
Prakash Padukone (Winner 1980)
Prakash Padukone created history in 1980 when he became the first Indian to win the All England Open title. Aged just 24 then, Padukone did not drop a single game throughout the tournament.
He continued his rich vein of form in the next edition of the event as well as he finished as the runner-up in 1981.
Pullela Gopichand (Winner 2001)
A total of 21 years after Padukone, a young Prakash Padukone won the men’s singles at the All England Open. This remains India’s last taste of victory in the prestigious tournament.
What made Gopichand’s victory even sweeter was the fact that he was not even considered to be an underdog going into the competition. In fact, he was seeded only in the 9th-16th bracket ahead of the tournament.
Saina Nehwal (Runner-up 2015)
Saina Nehwal, in 2015, became the first Indian woman to reach the final of the All England Badminton Open. Till date, she is the only Indian woman to have reached the summit clash of the event.
In the final, Nehwal was up against the Spaniard Carolina Marin. The Indian did win the first game 21-16 but lost the next two 14-21, 7-21 to finish as runner-up.
Lakshya Sen (Runner-up 2022)
21 years after Pullela Gopichand’s win, Lakshya Sen reached the men’s singles final of the All England Open in 2022.
Coming into the tournament on the back of an impressive run of form including a bronze medal at the World Championships, Sen cruised into the final. He, however, went down to Viktor Axelsen 10-21, 15-21 in straight games in the title clash.