Badminton in India

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    Mar 08, 2013
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Badminton in India Photo by Ram Kausik

India’s list of prominent sports in descending order of their fan base goes like this: At the first position, you have the ubiquitous cricket (stress on the word ubiquitous). Statistics claim that one in every three people of India is a cricket aficionado. This means, you possibly can’t turn twice without banging into someone who is very well acquainted with the sport of cricket. From the slums of Mumbai to the palaces in Kolkata, cricket is a recreation for one and all, transcending the age, gender and evidently social status barriers. Commercialization of cricket in the form of Indian Premier League matches just made it even more exciting.  In a way, cricket is the people’s choice of India’s national sport.

Next in this very compact list of India’s preferred games is the sport of Tennis. Though tennis is a more globally accepted and thriving racquet sport, it’s prominence in India is somewhat muffled due to its contained audience. As in, Tennis is not spread over in all the slices of India’s life. It is generally followed with enthusiasm by people who can possibly afford a racquet. Plus it’s ‘one or two player’ rule is limiting to a society that enjoys most aspects of their life as a motley group.

Then we have the likes of hockey, which has lost most of its sizzle in the past decade; football, which India enjoys more as an audience than active participants; and wrestling, which appeals to India’s earthy and intimate characteristics. Further down the list, somewhere after the fifth position, we have another racquet sport- Badminton. Badminton is still in the process of slowly expanding its band width to the far reaching corners of the world, so you can just imagine its reception in India. It is by all mean an up and coming sport that is made more famous by its enthusiastic and talented players such as Prakash Padukone and the contemporary players such as Parupalli Kashyap and Saina Nehwal.

Bronze medalist Nehwal was recently promoted to the second position in the Badminton World Federation (BWF) rankings. Though Parupalli Kashyap profile lacks the prolific Olympic medals, he still managed to make it to one of the top ten position in the world ranking order. Indian Badminton team has many talented players such as kashyap, Saina and a lot. Asian players dominate the Badminton hierarchy; with Chinese players leading the parade. India is not too far off and promises to catch up soon enough.

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