Gopi Chand of Hyderabad has added a new chapter
to the history of Indian badminton. A chapter that will
remain forever in golden letters. By winning the All
England Badminton Championship, considered as the
Wimbledon of badminton, he has taken India to new heights
in sports. The whole of India had to wait for more than
two decades to see a new champion emerge in badminton
after Prakash Padukone won the coveted title
for the first time in 1980.
Indian won the Yonex All-England Badminton Championship
with a masterful display of tactical badminton, backed
by wonderful net-play and interspersed with superb smashes.
He defeated Chen Hong of China, the 12th seed
in straight sets, 15-12, 15-6. Gopi Chand received $10,000
beside the glittering trophy. Gopi Chand has had a wonderful
run in the tournament. The world no. 10 did not concede
a single game enroute to the title.
A product of St Paul's High School and AV College,
this Hyderabadi lad has come a long way in badminton.
This victory was not achieved very easily. He has gone
through some tough moments during his fifteen year career.
The injury to his knee in the National Games held at
Pune in 1994 was a huge setback to his career. He was
in bed for nearly six months and underwent a major operation
in Mumbai. But the injury did not deter him and
he came out like a wounded tiger and won some great
matches after that. He first won his major title, the
juniors single crown in the Nationals at Goa in 1994.
Gopi Chand made his international debut in the Malaysia
Open and reached the finals but lost to a superior China
player in the final.
Prakash Padukone, the first Indian to win the All-England
Badminton Championship in 1980, on Sunday night termed
Gopi Chand's victory at Birmingham as a splendid and
well-deserved one. "It's a great day for Gopi as
well as Indian badminton. He had beaten all the top
players on his way to the final and outplayed China's
Chen Hong very convincingly," Padukone said. "The
victory should change the Indian badminton scene and
make other players more confident. A victory like this
has come after a long time," he said. Hyderabad-based
Gopi Chand underwent intensive coaching for two years
at the Padukone Academy in Bangalore. At present, he
trains at the Sports Authority of India courts,
also in Bangalore.
parents who were in Chennai watching the match on television
were ecstatic. Says Gopi Chand's mother Subbaramamma.
"I am very thrilled. I've been waiting for this
news since many years." His father S C Bose,
an officer with the Indian Overseas Bank says, "He's
achieved what no Indian after Prakash Padukone achieved,
I am happy". The principal of A V College
M V V Subba Rao where Gopi Chand finished his intermediate
education says "we are delighted with this victory
and we are proud that one of our students has taken
India to glorious heights. We are planning to felicitate
him in the month of June."
The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh N Chandrababu
Naidu who was ecstatic after his victory said that
this is a big day for badminton. Andhra Pradesh was
proud of its great son Gopi, who became the second Indian
to win the England title, he said.