(Last Updated on : 25/08/2012)
The first name in the record of Arjuna Awardees in Badminton would belong to N.M. Natekar as who was honoured with the award in the years 1961. Amongst all the indoor games that have been played in India over the past several years, the game of Badminton will definitely be considered as one of the most popular and famous sports. Being played in a great way in all over India, the game is mostly popular among the youth of India. There are quite a number of Badminton players as well who became successful in the regional and international tournaments while representing the country. For performing successfully and bringing glory to the country, the Government of India had honoured the Badminton players by bestowing them the highly respected and renowned Arjuna Awards
The first successful Badminton players to win the award was N.M. Natekar who won it in 1961 and Ms. Meena Shah followed him to win it in the very next year in 1962. After her, Dinesh Khanna won the award in the year of 1965 and in 1967; the award was presented to Suresh Goel. In the year 1969, Dipu Ghosh became the winner of the Arjuna Award. The period after that saw a very good run of the Badminton players in the winners' list of the award, when they claimed it in each of the three following years. During this time, D.V. Tambay won it in 1970; S. Moorthy in 1971 and one of the greatest Badminton players of India, Prakash Padukone, won the award in the year of 1972. The decade of 1970's went well for the Badminton players as far as winning the Arjuna Award was concerned. After Prakash Padukone
won the award, Raman Ghosh won it in 1974. Davinder Ahuja and Ami Ghia followed him successfully, as they became the winner in the years of 1975 and 1976 respectively. In 1977-78, Ms. K.T. Singh became successful to win the award as a female Badminton player and right after her, Syed Modi claimed the prestigious award in 1980-81. The game of Badminton got a double winner in the year of 1982, when the award was named after both P. Ganguli and Ms. M. Goswami.
The later period was not that affluent as the Badminton players of India faced two huge unsuccessful periods, of which the first one started from 1982 to 1991. In 1991, Rajeev Bagga won the award and broke the dead lock temporarily. However, the second period of downfall started just after his win in 1991; and this one lasted till the year of 1999 when Pullela Gopichand
won the much coveted Arjuna Award for his wonderful performance in the All England Badminton Championship. In the very next year in 2000, George Thomas received the award and in 2003, Madasu Srinivas Rao won it as a Physically Challenged sportsperson. Then there was a consecutive wins for the Badminton players in the following two years as Abhinn Shyam Gupta and Ms. Aparna Popat
claimed the award in the years of 2004 and 2005 respectively. The 2007 Arjuna Award is given to Chetan Anand
for his contribution in badminton and Rohit Bhakar won the award in the disable category. In the recent years, the thre were two new additions in the list of Arjuna Awardees in Badminton. Anup Sridhar
was honoured with the Arjuna Award in 2008; whereas the very talented Saina Nehwal
was conferred the Arjuna Award in the year 2009 for her brilliant performance.
Though the periods of the late 1980s and early 1990s did not go well for the Badminton players, but it can be concluded that there was never a lack of talent in the game of Badminton in India. At present also, there are a lot of promising Badminton players who have the ability to be successful in various levels of competitions, be it national, regional or international.
||P. Ganguli, Madhumita Bisht
||D. V. Tambay
||Madasu Srinivas Rao (Physically Challenged)
||Abhinn Shyam Gupta
||Chetan Anand, Rohit Bhakar (Physically Challenged)
||Ms. K.T. Singh