The 64-year-old spoke about his journey as a badminton player in India.
Prakash Padukone can be rightly heralded as the early driving force behind the rise in popularity and stature of badminton in India. With his extraordinary feats on the court, the shuttler managed to put his country on the map in the international arena.
At the age of 16, Prakash Padukone became the youngest player to win the National Senior Championship in 1971 and then went on to set a record of winning the national title for nine straight years until 1979. During this period, he took a huge leap of faith when he immersed himself completely into the game and attempted to forge a successful career as a badminton player, especially considering the fact that the sport was in the early stages of its development as a whole in the country.
“I’d say I take calculated risks. I have taken quite a few risks in my sporting career,” Prakash Padukone told Nandan Kamath when answering a question posed by the host in the talk show Staying Ahead of the Curve – the Power of Trust.
To excel in any industry is an arduous task but it is probably a thousand folds more challenging to earn a living by playing a particular sport due to the inherent uncertain and chaotic nature of the business. The badminton ace faced a similar quandary at an important stage in his career where he had to choose between stepping back again into the uncertain waters of his sport or opting for a job with much more stability.
“After winning All England in 1980, I got the opportunity to play for a professional club in Denmark. I held a senior position at the bank and if I wanted to go, I had to leave that post,” revealed Prakash Padukone.
“I had got two promotions after winning in 1978 and 1980 and my parents were against the idea of me leaving a well-paying, secure job for something uncertain. However, I took a calculated risk then. I had won the national title seven or eight times by then, so travelling to Denmark was the only option for me to excel and remain at the top.”
His calculated risk paid off as he became synonymous with badminton in India and will eternally remain an indispensable figure in the sport’s folklore. Nonetheless, the badminton maestro advises everyone to make prudent decisions when it comes to their respective career prospects and to not strictly follow someone else’s path since there are countless differentiating factors involved in each case.
“I’d tell people to exercise caution and not take undue risks. Weigh the pros and cons carefully, analyze the stage at which you are in your career and see if it would be feasible for you,” the legendary badminton player concluded.