23 March, 1980: Padukone Won India’s First-Ever All England Title
It was on this day, 40 year back, that Prakash Padukone changed the landscape of Indian badminton by becoming the first Indian to win the All England Championships.
At the age of 24, ace shuttler Padukone defeated two-time defending champion Liem Swie King of Indonesia 15-3, 15-10 at the Wembley Stadium on March 23, 1980.
It was a record that for years to come was considered the best performance by an Indian badminton player before current national team head coach Pullela Gopichand managed to emulate that feat in 2001.
India's brightest badminton star at the moment, reigning world champion P.V. Sindhu was knocked out of the All England Championships earlier this month.
Since Saina Nehwal once again revived the sport, in the last nine years, India have a world champion, two Olympic and multiple world championship medals. Sindhu has taken over the mantle from her with others like Sai Praneeth and Kidambi Srikanth also doing well, but Padukone's All England title is still the biggest milestone in the history of the sport in the country.
Speaking about how he won the final, Padukone had told ESPN.in on the sidelines of the 2017 edition in Birmingham, "I would make him move just a fraction of a second late, because I was holding back my stroke. If he was expecting a toss, I would play a drop. If he was expecting a drop, I would play a stroke. He couldn't anticipate and stand there and be in an attacking position."
Padukone's superstar daughter Deepika also tweeted: "Pappa,Your contribution to Badminton and Indian Sport is immeasurable! Thank You for your inspiring display of dedication,discipline,determination and years of hard work! They don't make you like you anymore...We love you and are proud of you! Thank You for being you! (sic)"