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Why Prakash Padukone never played at the Olympics?

Despite winning the All England Open and being honoured with Arjuna award and Padma Shri, Prakash Padukone never played in Olympics. Why?

Prakash Padukone - The All England Open Badminton Champion in 1980

Prakash Padukone - The All England Open Badminton Champion in 1980


Abhijit Nair

Updated: 21 March 2021 6:55 AM GMT

Prakash Padukone is one of the earliest sporting stars of India. In fact, he was the first real badminton icon in the country. It was his stellar performances in the badminton court, which helped popularise the racquet sport in India.

His golden run in the year 1980 where he won three tournaments – The Denmark Open, All England Open and The Swedish Open one after the other, made him a household name in the country.

He was also awarded the Arjuna Award in 1972 and the Padma Shri in the year 1982. But, despite all these achievements he has not played an Olympic match for India. Perplexing, isn't it?

Why did Prakash Padukone not play in the Olympics?

Prakash Padukone (Source: Badminton Association of India)

Well, the answer to this is pretty simple. Prakash Padukone has not played a single international match since the year 1989 and he officially announced his retirement in the year 1991 to spend more time with his two young daughters, Deepika and Anisha.

On the other side, badminton was not a recognised Olympic sport till the year 1992. Though the sport was played as a demonstration event at the 1972 Munich Games, it was only during the 1992 Barcelona Games that the sport was inducted into the Olympics as a medal event.

Prakash Padukone was still playing junior nationals when the sport was played as a demonstration event in 1972 and was officially retired by the time badminton was recognised as a medal event at the Olympics in 1992. Hence, he has not played a single Olympic match in his otherwise illustrious career.

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