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Pullela Gopichand Profile
- Won the All-England Open Badminton Championship in 2001
- Reached the finals of the Indian Open, a grand prix event
Pullela Gopichand is an Indian Badminton player, and is famous for achieving the highest level of success in International Badminton after the legendry Prakash Padukone. Barring Prakash, Gopichand has been the only Indian Badminton player to have won the prestigious All England Badminton Championship.
Early Life & Introduction to Badminton
He was born on the 16th of November 1973 at Nalgonda, Andhra Pradesh to Pullela Shubhash Chandra and Subbaravamanna. Initially Gopichand was more interested in playing Cricket, but later his elder brother Rajashekar initiated him to take up the game of Badminton instead. He studied at the St. Paulís School, and even at an early age of 10 years his prowess in the game of Badminton had become an issue to be discussed in the School. Gopichand suffered a ligament rupture in the year 1986 when he was just 13 years old, although he had won the Singles and the Doubles title at the Inter School Competition the same year. Undeterred by the injury, he bounced back soon and reached the Final round of the Andhra Pradesh State Junior Badminton Championship, only to lose the title to his own elder brother. By the year 1988, when he finished his schooling, Gopichand had made a mark for himself in the Badminton circuit. Further, he joined A.V. College, Hyderabad to receive a degree in Public Administration. He was the Captain of the Indian Combined Universities Badminton team in the year 1990 and 1991.
He won his first National Badminton Championship title in the year 1996, and won the title five times in a row, till the year 2000. Also, he won two Gold Medals and one Silver Medal at National Games 1998 held at Imphal. The same year, Gopichand led the State Badminton team of Andhra Pradesh to win the prestigious Rahmatulla Cup.
Gopichand made his debut into International Badminton in the year 1991 when he was selected to play against Malaysia. In his International Badminton career, he represented the nation in 3 Thomas Cup tournaments. In the year 1996 he grabbed a Gold Medal in the SAARC Badminton Tournament held at Vijayawada, and repeated the victory in the same tournament held at Colombo in 1997. At the Commonwealth Games, he won a Silver Medal in the team event and a Bronze Medal in the singles event.
Making of the Legend
He was able to get his first big boost up at International level in the year 1997 in the Indian Grand Prix Tournament held at Delhi. At the event, Gopichand continuously defeated an array of top-seeded players from all around the world, although he lost in the Final Match. In the year 1999, he won the Toulouze Open Championship in France, and the Scottish Open Championship in Scotland. Continuing his smashing form, he emerged winner at the Asian Satellite tournament held at Hyderabad the same year, and lost in the Final match of the German Grand Prix Championship.
The Golden Moments
The proudest moments of Gopichandís lifetime arrived in the year 2001, when he recreated the history by winning the prestigious All England Badminton Championship at London. In the Championship, he defeated Olympic Gold Medallist player Anders Boeson in the Quarter-Final round, while in the Semi-Final round he beat the World No. 1 Peter Gade of Denmark. Finally, he outperformed the talented Chen Hong of China by 15-12, 15-6 to lift the coveted title, and to achieve the feat that had been accomplished by only one Indian till then, the legendry Prakash Padukone.
Awards & Honors
To commemorate his excellence performance as a Badminton player at the National and International level, and his exceptional services to the nation through the sport of Badminton, the Government of India honored Pullela Gopichand with the Arjuna Award in the year 1999. Further, in the year 2001 he was bestowed upon the greatest Indian award in the field of sports, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award. In the year 2005, he was conferred upon the Padma Shri award.
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