Deepika Padukone is a sports lover, biopics or no biopics.
What she said:
“It’s nice that so many biopics are being made, and they are leading to more awareness. But why do we have to wait for a movie to learn more about the sportsperson or sport? It just shows that we don’t encourage our athletes enough.”
Bollywood actor, Deepika Padukone, feels that the big screen should not be the sole medium via which sports stars are lionised for the public.
“If we start writing and talking about them early in their careers, it will be much easier to create awareness about various sports and their champions. Also, I feel the media has a huge part to play in making people aware of our champions. It’s not just cricket, we have so many other sports.”
Deepika is the daughter of former shuttler, Prakash Padukone, the first Indian player to win the All-England Open. He is widely rated India’s best male badminton player ever.
On the Mary Kom biopic:
“But people didn’t know who Mary was. Four-five years back, I think she was a three-time world champion. Now, she is four- or five-time world champion. So, when Priyanka (Chopra) did the film, I thought it would be great as everyone would get to know her.”
What she really meant:
“I’m not just a pretty face, you know. I have sporting genes. That I chose to become a model and actress instead is beside the point.”
What she definitely didn’t:
“Now if I’d only known that I wouldn’t have to wear prosthetic makeup for ‘Mary Kom’, I’d have done the picture in a blink of an eye.”
Parupalli Kashyap is the latest male star to bedazzle the Indian badminton circuit.
The Hyderabadi pulled off a minor miracle when he beat Singapore’s Derek Wong to clinch India’s first ever Commonwealth games gold medal in badminton in 32 years. Kashyap trains under Pulella Gopichand, a former All England champion, in his hometown.
Kashyap is in distinguished company. Prakash Padukone and Syed Modi are the only other Indians to have accomplished the said feat.
For the 27-year-old, public recognition may
have finally arrived. Indian Men’s badminton, in recent times, has been overshadowed by the exploits of Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu and Jwala Gutta, their female counterparts.
Kashyap might just be the man to continue Gopichand’s legacy.
The Padma Bhushan awardee won the All England championship in 2001 but knee injuries cut short his promising career in its prime.
At the 2012 London Olympics, Kashyap reached the quarter-finals only to lose to top seed Lee Chong Wei.
Very few are aware that Kashyap is asthmatic.
Morten Frost of Denmark was another badminton great who suffered from asthma.
The lanky Indian athlete has to renew his TUE (Therapeutic Use Exemption) certificate from WADA every year.
Kashyap was diagnosed with the chest ailment in 2005. It almost brought his fledgling career to a standstill.
But the fighter in Kashyap came to the fore.
“It was a big shock for me. Many thought my career was over. But I was determined to fight back and put in a lot of hard work to overcome the disorder.”
“It used to be very, very bad. I used to be sick at every tournament. I had to keep taking antibiotics and I would feel ill all the time.”
Once his condition was diagnosed, the shuttler went from strength to strength.
“Before 2005, nobody told me my condition was asthma. But once it was diagnosed and I started the right medication, I grew quickly in strength. I could eat well and I got healthy. I’m still asthmatic and I take medication once a day, but I’m fine otherwise.”
Kashyap carries an inhaler (or two) on court for every game and does extra endurance work.
On asthmatics and sport:
“Basically, asthmatics have to keep on working on endurance. You can’t build it up and stop working on it for a while, like the others. My endurance goes down if I don’t work on it. So I do endurance workouts even during tournaments, when other players don’t.”
At the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth games, Kashyap had clinched bronze defeating compatriot Chetan Anand, perhaps now better known as Jwala Gutta’s ex.
Kashyap was awarded the Arjuna award in 2012.
A little-known fact on Indian men’s badminton: India has more players in the top 100 than any other nation.
“That’s a great achievement. But if you want to consistently be in the top 10 or have a number of players winning big titles that is tougher. We have very good bench strength now in men’s singles especially. But going ahead and winning big titles, you need a ten-fold investment.”
Kashyap believes that if he works hard enough he can meet the levels of Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei, the current top two in the game.
Kashyap’s journey to the top has just begun. Let us hope for many more medals from the young man lighting up an Indian future in the Chinese-dominated sport.
Jwala Gutta has always been in the news but always for the wrong reasons.
Unlike her singles counterpart, Saina Nehwal, controversy seems to court her with a vengeance.
So who is Jwala Gutta?
Jwala is a left-handed badminton player of mixed Indian and Chinese descent.
According to Wikipedia:
With her doubles victory partnering Ashwini Ponappa at the CommonWealth Games 2010 , New Delhi, Gutta is now a household name and can count herself among the limited pantheon of Indian sports heroes.
Jwala and her partner Diju also clinched a silver at the CWG in the mixed doubles , going down in the final to the Malaysian pair Koo Kien Keat and Chin Ee Hui 14-21, 21-10, 10-21.
But the path to glory has been a thorny one.
After a famous victory over Pakistan in the Asia Cup, Indian sport has another reason to celebrate with Saina Nehwal crowning herself with back-to-back victories at the Grand Prix India Open and the Super-Series Singapore Open. The Singapore Open is her second Super Series win following her victory at the Indonesian Open last year.
This is just the latest in a string of achievements by this young shuttler in a sport in which India is not renowned to be a powerhouse. Nonetheless, Indian badminton can boast of some noteworthy successes namely Prakash Padukone, the tragic Syed Modi and more recently Pulella Gopichand ,who also happens to be Nehwal’s coach.
This young 20 year old is the latest star in the firmament of Indian badminton and more importantly Indian sport. And that is something to celebrate because for a nation of over a billion people, we have far too few sport stars our youngsters can model themselves on.
Quote of the day:
I like life. It’s something to do. – Ronnie Shakes