Said India has great young talent and a healthy sign for Indian badminton
Former Indian badminton star Aparna Popat, who was India’s number one female badminton player during her playing career and holds the unique record of winning nine consecutive national singles titles (she shares this record with Prakash Padukone), was in Vadodara recently for a tournament organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII–Young Indians Vadodara).
Aparna, who is also an Arjuna Award winner and three-time Commonwealth Games medallist, also played an exhibition match at the event. She told us, “I belong to a Gujarati family but I was born and brought up in Mumbai. My family’s roots are in Kutch and I love Gujarati food.” Talking about her career, she shared, “I had a good journey because I won a few medals for India, including India’s first medal at the junior World Championships. At that moment, nobody had expected an Indian to win it and so, it was very special.”
Talking about PV Sindhu’s chances at the upcoming Olympics, Aparna says, “Sindhu has a great team to train her, and she is a champion who knows how to raise her game during the big moments. So, although she has lost in a few tournaments recently, I believe she has very good chances of winning the Olympic gold if she is in good form when the Olympic starts.”
Talking about the current phase of Indian badminton, Aparna said, “India has some great young talent right now, and that is why so many of our players are doing well on the global stage. It is also good to see the kind of support from sponsors, corporates and good coaches that they are getting. Compared to my time, these players are more confident and have more self-belief today. That is a very healthy sign for Indian badminton.”