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Looking back at India's medallists in BWF World Championships

Published at :August 20, 2022 at 8:27 PM
Modified at :August 20, 2022 at 8:27 PM
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Kaivalya Pillai

The 27th edition of the BWF World Championship commences on August 22nd in Tokyo

BWF World Championship is the biggest badminton event in the world. This is the stage that provides shuttlers with the platform to precisely judge their place in the World of badminton. Starting in 1977, World Championship has grown its stature and has become the ultimate test for shuttlers just like the Olympics. A medal in the World championship is regarded very highly and prestigious in the badminton world.

When it began in 1977, the tournament used to be held once every three years until 1982 after which it became a biennial tournament till 2005, and since then it has been held every year except the one in which the Summer Olympics takes place. This year it is going to be the 27th edition. China has been the most dominant country with 67 gold medals in BWF World Championship's history.

Indian shuttlers have bagged 12 medals in the BWF World Championships' history

India is gradually growing into a dominant nation in the world of badminton. The revolution that came in Badminton in India is outstanding in the past few years. Out of these 12 medals, seven have been won in the last five years, which includes the year 2020 when the Championship was cancelled due to the pandemic. The first medal came in 1983 through Prakash Padukone whereas the last medal came in 2021 through Kidambi Shrikanth. Let us have a look at the contributors to these 12 medals for India:

Prakash Padukone (1983)

Prakash Padukone was the first Indian player to win a medal at the BWF World Championships. He won a Bronze medal for India in 1983 and was the only Indian to have succeeded on such a big stage for 28 years.

He lost to Iuck Sugiarto of Indonesia in the semifinals, who eventually became the champion of that year's championship.

Jwala Gutta & Ashwini Ponappa (2011)

Ashwini Ponappa and Jwala Gutta were the women's doubles pair who ended the drought for India in the World Championships after 28 years. They clinched the Bronze medal for India in 2011. They are the only Indian doubles pair to win a medal at the World Championships. Ponappa and Gutta are also a big revolutionary inspiration to many Indian shuttlers after their big achievements in World badminton.

That year was a dream run for this Indian pair. They entered the championship unseeded and managed to upset in the second round itself by beating the second seeds of Taiwan in straight games. They continued their magical run in the third round and the quarterfinals as well where they beat much higher seeded pairs from Hong Kong and Indonesia respectively. Their tournament came to an end when they were defeated by the fifth-seeded Chinese pair Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei in the semifinals and won a Bronze for India.

Saina Nehwal (2015, 2017)

Another inspirational shuttler of India has inspired millions with her game and achievements. She had made her mark in World badminton much earlier than she won medals in World Championships. She is the first Olympic Badminton medallist for India.

Saina won her first World Championship medal in 2015 where she won a silver medal. She was beaten by the top seed Carolina Marin in the final. Saina Nehwal was also World no. 1 that year; the first Indian to achieve that spot and was seeded second after Marin in World Championship.

She won her second medal in 2017 where she managed to win a Bronze medal. 2017 was the first year where two Indian shuttlers shared podiums. Sindhu won the silver that year whereas Saina won the Bronze after losing to Nozomi Okuhara in Semi-finals who won the title that year.

B Sai Praneeth (2019)

After Prakash Padukone, Sai Praneeth was the next medal winner for India in Men's Badminton. He clinched a Bronze medal in the 2019 World Championships. It was another ice breaker for Indian Badminton. He showed immense skills and a gradual increase in his performance that year by beating some best in business.

After beating some top players like Jason Anthony Ho-Shue, Lee Dong, Anthony Sinisuka and Jonathan Christie till the quarterfinals, he got to the semifinals to draw against the top-seeded Kento Momota of Japan who eventually won the gold medal. He failed to outplay the Japanese shuttler and lost to him in the Semifinals clinching the bronze medal.

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Lakshya Sen (2021)

The 20-year-old wondrous boy from Uttarakhand. Sen had previously won the silver medal in the 2018 Youth Olympics. He was unseeded before entering the tournament and went on to beat fifteenth seed Kenta Nishimoto in a three-game win. Later in the tournament, he defeated the Tokyo Olympics semifinalist Kevin Cordon easily and won a high-intensity encounter against Zhao Jun Peng.

In the Semifinals, Sen got defeated by his own countrymen Kidambi Shrikanth and won a Bronze medal in World Championship at beginning of his career.

Kidambi Shrikanth (2021)

Once again a championship where two Indians ended up at the podium but this year it was in the Men's Singles. Kidambi Shrikanth ended up winning a Silver medal in the 2021 World Championship. He became the first Indian man to reach the final in the BWF World Championships.

The former World No. 1 came with a bang after missing the Tokyo Olympics, 2020. He beat Pablo Abian, Li Shi Feng, Lu Guang Zu and Mark Calijouw before reaching the semifinals where he beat Lakshya Sen in an intense match and reached the final where he lost to Loh Kean Yew in straight sets by 21-15, 22-20 margin and became the first man to win a silver medal for India at the World Championships.

PV Sindhu (2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019)

PV Sindhu has won the most number of medals for India in the World Championships. She has won five medals for India on such a big platform. Sindhu has been the most successful player to represent India in badminton and her records are proof of that. She has been growing since her first appearance and has only improved her performance since then.

She won her first World Championship medal in 2013 when she was just 18 years old. Sindhu was the first Indian woman to win a medal in Women's Singles. She began her journey with a Bronze in 2013 and 2014. The colour of the medal improved when she won silver in 2017 when she lost to her biggest rival of the time Nozomi Okuhara in an epic final and settled for silver.

The colour remained similar in 2018 as well where she yet again reached the final successfully, but was unsuccessful in beating another arch-rival Carolina Marin of Spain and once again settled for silver.

Finally, the gold medal arrived in India. Sindhu won the first ever Gold for India at World Championship in 2019, after reaching in final for the third consecutive time. This time she successfully beat Okuhara to clinch gold for India.

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