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Badminton player Aparna Popat. Read for information on Aparna Popat
Aparna Popat Profile
- Won the national women's title consecutively for eight years
- Won the Women's Singles in the French Open, Paris in 1998
- Won silver at the 1998 Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games
- Runner-up in the World Junior Championship at Denmark in 1996
- Arjuna Award for 2005
Aparna Popat is an Indian Badminton Player and is considered to be one of the All Time Greatest female Badminton players India has ever produced. She holds a record for holding the National Senior Women’s Badminton title for maximum number of times consecutively, and has delivered excellent performance at many International Badminton Championships.
She was born on the 18th of January 1978 at Mumbai to Lalji Popat and Hema Popat, a Gujarati couple. Aparna received her education at the J.B. Pelit School and and Mt Carmel College, Bangalore. Further, she earned herself a degree in Commerce from the Mumbai University.
Introduction to Badminton
Aparna began playing the game of Badminton at the age of 8 years, when she chanced to play the game at the Cricket Club of India (CCI) courts in Mumbai. Initially, she was more inclined towards Tennis, but before she could manage to find a good Coach and playing facility in Tennis, she had already started performing remarkable well at Badminton. While playing at CCI, she was spotted by Anil Pradhan, the Badminton Coach at the club who himself had remained a National Doubles Champion previously. Pradhan recognized the talent hidden in Aparna and encouraged her to take the game seriously. By the time she was 13 years old, she had blossomed into an intense Badminton player, having won many tournaments in the game. Anil trained her for next 8 years and gave her the solid foundation in the game. Apart from Aparna, he is credited to groom 2 more Badminton players, viz. Jyothi Sanghi and Radhika Bose who scaled the heights in the game, although Aparna proved to be the best student of Anil. In the year 1994, Aparna moved to Prakash Padukone’s Badminton Academy based at Bangalore to hone her skills in a better and enhanced way.
She won the National Under-12 Badminton Championship 1989 held at Bangalore, beating Neelima Chaudhary in the Final match. Her first Senior National Championship victory came in the year 1997, when she defeated Manjusha Pawangadkar at Pune. It was a kind of revenge, as Aparna lost to Manjusha in the Final match of the championship in 1996. Right since, winning her first title in 1997, Aparna didn’t look back and created a history of sorts by winning the National Senior title for a record number of 9 times consecutively, till the year 2005. She broke the record of Madhumita Bisht who had won the title for 7 times in a row, from 1984 to 1990.
Aparna also played quite well at the International Level, and her performance was better than any other female Indian Badminton player before her. She participated in the World Junior Badminton Championship 1996 held at Denmark and won a Silver Medal at the tournament. Further, she won a Silver Meal again at the Kuala Lumpur Commomwealth Games 1998, and the same year she created a new record by becoming the first Indian woman to win the French Open title. At the Manchester Commonwealth Games 2002 she clinched a Bronze Medal, while managed to enter the Semi Final round of the Swedish Open Badminton Tournament.
The Blunder of Lifetime
Right before the Sydney Olympic Games 2000, Aparna committed a mistake that in a way turned out to be the blunder of her lifetime. During a practice session, she took a D-Cold tablet to get rid of a cold attack, ignorant of the ingredients of the medicine, which actually comprised of a banned substance. During the routine dope test, Aparna was found positive and subsequently the International Badminton Federation (IBF) imposed a 3 months ban upon her. Although later the ban had been lifted and she was able to qualify for the Sydney Olympic Games 2000 and Athens Olympic Games 2004, the doping issue proved to be a hurdle in her getting honored by the Sports Ministry for a long time.
Awards & Honors
Finally, the Government of India recognized her talent and extra-ordinary efforts as a sportsperson by bestowing upon her the prestigious Arjuna Award in the year 2005. After her wonderful performance at the Commonwealth Games, the State Governments of Maharashtra and Karnataka also honored Aparna as an exceptional Badminton player.
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