The All England Open Badminton Championship, the world’s oldest badminton event, is one such competitors the place heritage and excellence shake fingers. The maiden version was held in Guilford in 1898, and following its roaring success, it was shifted to London’s Horticultural Halls in 1899.
It was thought of because the unofficial World Championship of badminton till the Worldwide Badminton Federation got here up with its personal championship in 1977.
In 2021, the celebrated occasion (now a Superseries event) will begin on March 17. The Badminton World Federation (BWF) on Tuesday launched the draw for the Tremendous 1000 occasion in Birmingham, England.
Indian shuttlers have been taking part within the All England Open for a very long time. Allow us to take a look at a number of the greatest performances by Indians within the prestigious event.
Shri Prakash Nath (Runner-up, 1947)
In 1947, the championship resumed after it was paused as a consequence of World Conflict II. The seeding occurred primarily based on efficiency earlier than the occasion was halted. India had two entries within the event in Praksh Nath and his fierce rival Devinder Mohan. Nath received the 1946 nationals beating Mohan and the Indian federation determined to ship each the gamers to achieve worldwide expertise.
The organisers put them in the identical quarter of the draw which meant that solely one among them had the chance to succeed in the finals.
Within the very first spherical, Nath was up in opposition to defending champion Tage Madsen of Denmark. In entrance of a 25,000 sturdy crowd, the favorite received the primary recreation 15-7.
Nath nevertheless managed to get the higher of Madsen and nicked the second 15-12. All eyes had been on the deciding third, and Nath blew away his extra illustrated opponent 15-3.
Within the second spherical, he beat Tod Majury 15-7, 15-11 in straight video games.
However within the quarterfinals, he was to face his pricey buddy and fierce rival Mohan. To the shock of the England crowd, the duo agreed to not cross swords with one another and the winner was determined by flipping a coin. It was unprecedented and the England press lapped up the story. Fortune favoured Nath as he known as it proper and progressed to the subsequent spherical.
Within the semifinals, Nath got here up in opposition to native lad Radford. The native gave him a stiff combat within the first set however was overwhelmed within the second recreation which paved the best way for Nath to turn out to be the primary Indian to seal a berth within the finals.
Within the grand finale, he confronted Denmark’s Conny Jepsen. However Nath who had a superb event to this point stored struggling to seek out his rhythm and misplaced in straight units 15-7, 15-11 on the Harringay Enviornment.
Prakash Padukone (Winner 1980, Runner-Up 1981)
At simply 24, Prakash Padukone created historical past and have become the primary Indian to win the All England Open at Wembley Stadium on March 23, 1980.
He was in his prime and went on to win the championship with out dropping a single recreation. Within the Spherical of 32, he clashed in opposition to Malaysian Suffian Abu Bakr. With little bother, he swept him apart 15-7, 15-12.
Within the subsequent spherical, he went up in opposition to Indonesian Hadiyanto. He humiliated his opponent as he went on to win the primary recreation 15-0. He received the second 15-10 to progress.
His beautiful gameplay meant Padukone turned a crowd favorite and within the quarterfinals, he continued his imperial type and went on to win in opposition to his Swiss opponent Pri 15-4, 15-4.
Within the final 4, he confronted one other Swiss in Frost Hansen. Pri’s compatriot suffered the identical destiny and surrendered 15-8, 15-10 to Padukone who hardly put a foot flawed.
Within the finals, he locked horns in opposition to Indonesia’s Liem Swie King, who was equally in a wealthy vein of type and had blown away each opponent he confronted until then with out dropping a recreation. He was the two-time defending champion and was gunning for his third straight title.
However to the shock of everybody, Padukone bagged the primary recreation 15-3. King confirmed some resistance within the second however was no match to the Indian’s deception and spin as he misplaced 15-10.
In 1981, Padukone confronted the identical opponent within the closing and the world had its eyes on what was set to be one of the anticipated matches ever.
King needed to avenge his earlier loss and fired on all cylinders proper from the phrase go, constructing a 9-0 lead early on. However Padukone got here again from behind to win the sport 11-15.
However the gargantuan efforts he put in to get better sapped him of his vitality. The rallies obtained longer within the second and third video games and the Indian stored dropping factors to finally lose the match, 15-11, 4-15, 6-15.
Pullela Gopichand (Winner 2001)
Pullella Gopichand was by no means a favorite to win the crown in 2001. In actual fact, he was seeded within the 9-16 bracket and the event was being hosted on a concrete floor, a lot to the displeasure of the Indian shuttler.
Nonetheless, within the home circuit, he was hitting the precise notes and was in good type.
Within the Spherical of 32, he beat native lad Colin Haugton with ease in straight video games 15-7, 15-4. Within the Spherical of 16, he was up in opposition to one of many event favourites Chinese language Ji Xingpeng. He was an Olympic champion and was dominating the worldwide circuit at the moment.
However Gopichand produced an upset to beat the Chinese language 15-3, 15-9. The style during which he brushed apart his far more illustrated opponent noticed Gopichand get observed by pundits.
Within the quarters, he continued his wealthy vein of type and beat Anders Boesen 15-11, 15-7 with out a lot bother.
Nonetheless, within the semi-finals, his limits had been examined by Swiss worldwide Peter Gade. It was an intense battle as each gamers went toe-to-toe. However Gopichand held his nerve within the tiebreakers of each the video games and received the match 17-14, 17-15.
Within the closing, only a few guess in opposition to him when he went up in opposition to Chen Hong of China. His adversary was not among the best however was having an exquisite event. However his greatest was not sufficient in opposition to a marauding Gopichand who received the match 15-12, 15-6 to turn out to be the second Indian to win the All England Open.
Saina Nehwal (Runner-Up 2015)
Saina Nehwal was the third seed going into the All England Championship in 2015. Therefore within the first spherical, she obtained a straightforward draw and was up in opposition to Bellaetrix Manuputty of Indonesia. She defeated her comfortably in straight video games with a scoreline of 21-8, 21-12.
Within the second spherical, she confronted Kim Hyo-Min of South Korea and as soon as once more had little bother in beating her 21-15, 21-15.
Nonetheless, within the quarterfinals, she needed to combat in opposition to the fifth-seeded Wang Yihan of China. It was a detailed combat within the first recreation, however she maintained her composure to win it 21-19. Within the second, Nehwal took her recreation a few notches larger and beat Yihan 21-6.
Within the semi-finals, she confronted one other Chinese language shuttler in Solar Yu. The Indian ace didn’t have to interrupt a sweat to get the higher of her and received the match 21-13, 21-13.
The eye on Saina was at a crescendo going into the ultimate as she was knocking on the doorways of historical past. She was only a win away from changing into the primary Indian lady athlete to win the All England Open. Her adversary was the sixth-seeded Carolina Marin of Spain.
She went off to a brisk begin and pocketed the primary recreation 21-16. Nonetheless, her actions on the courtroom turned slower and he or she ended up dropping the ultimate two video games 14-21, 7-21.
“The primary recreation was fairly good. I began off very nicely. However I believe she was additionally in good type and he or she gave me a troublesome time after that. Lastly, it’s a recreation so clearly, it will be difficult,” expressed Saina after returning to India.