The nation’s badminton fraternity on Wednesday mourned the death of badminton nice Nandu Natekar with Pullela Gopichand describing him as a “true legend” of the sport whereas Vimal Kumar credited him for his initiation to the game.
Natekar, who performed a bit of cricket and tennis on the nationwide degree earlier than changing into a global shuttler, died in Pune on Wednesday.
The 88-year-old, who received over 100 nationwide and worldwide titles in his career, was affected by age-related illnesses.
“For us, he is a true legend in Indian badminton. He is someone who is well-respected and we have heard stories about him. He not only played badminton but tennis at the highest level. He belonged to that era, where he, along with Suresh Goel, Dinesh Khanna and Prakash Padukone, his name will be up there,” Gopichand, India’s chief nationwide coach, advised PTI.
It was tennis’ loss however badminton’s acquire as Natekar might have continued with the previous had he not lost the 1951-52 National junior last to Ramanathan Krishnan.
“He was soft person and a great gentleman. He was affectionate and always had keen interest in present day badminton. He had such precision and understanding of angles, he was an athlete because he could adapt to tennis and badminton,” Gopichand mentioned.
“He had such beautiful hands, skills and also his movement.”
Former India coach Vimal Kumar mentioned his father was a giant fan of Natekar and that is how he obtained into the game.
“My father was a big fan of him and in fact it was after he saw him during a national event at (then) Trivandrum that he put up an outside court at our house and that’s how I got initiated into badminton,” he mentioned.
“I could only see him play when he won the veteran All England in the 1980s. He was as popular as the cricketers in the 50s and people used to line up to watch him play.”
Abdul Shaikh, who performed with Natekar within the Maharashtra crew to shifting to Canada in 1967, has so much of good recollections.
“I am very sorry to hear this news. He was one of the most stylish and graceful international players I have seen in my life,” Shaikh, who went on to teach the Canada badminton crew, advised PTI from Vancouver.
“I had partnered him in India Open in the 1960s. We had lost to Malaysia in the finals. He was someone who actually picked up his superb backhand from Wong Peng Soon of Malaysia. He was such a superb stroke player and had beautiful footwork.”
Natekar was additionally an excellent singer, in accordance with Shaikh.
“We used to travel in trains for international and inter-state events and he used to be a good singer. We used to play antakshri,” he laughs, remembering the previous days.
Former India shuttler and doubles specialist Uday Pawar additionally reacted with unhappiness on the information.
“It is a sad day. He was reputed to have the best back-hand in the world and it is sad we could not have any of his video films to watch, to know really how great he was,” Pawar said.
“He was the very best participant Maharashtra has produced in badminton.”
Dipankar Bhattacharajee, who represented India in 1992 Barcelona and 1996 Atlanta Olympics, described him as a “Godfather of Indian badminton”.
“…I feel even Prakash Sir used to attract inspiration from Nandu Natekar Sir. So, I imply, what you may say, he’s the Godfather of Indian badminton,” he said.
“I did not see him play however the best second of my life got here when in a single of the nationwide rating tournaments in Pune, Natekar Sir was the chief visitor and he gave me the primary prize, so that’s one memorable second for me.
“I am not able to express myself at this point, it is a huge loss to Indian badminton and I just wish that his soul rests in peace…”
Badminton Association of India (BAI) president Himanta Biswa Sarma additionally took to twitter to specific his condolences.
“One of the towering icons of Indian badminton, Nandu Natekar leaves behind a rich legacy, that we shall cherish forever. 6-time national champion & first Indian to win an international title in 1956, Natekar shall be remembered fondly for his drives, drops & smashes. Condolences,” Sarma tweeted.
In his distinguished career, Natekar made it to the quarterfinals of the distinguished All England Championships in 1954 and have become the primary Indian participant to win a global occasion when he claimed the Sellanger International title in Malaysia in 1956.
He additionally received 12 out of the 16 singles matches and eight out of 16 in doubles as half of the Indian crew on the Thomas Cup between 1951 and 1963. He additionally had the excellence of main the nation within the match in 1959, 1961 and 1963.
He had additionally represented India on the 1965 Commonwealth Games in Jamaica.