Legendary Indian badminton player Nandu Natekar no more
(Sourced from PTI)
Legendary badminton player Nandu Natekar, the first Indian to win an international title in 1956, died in Pune on Wednesday. The 88-year-old, who won several national and international titles in his career, was suffering from age-related ailments Natekar, who was considered one of the most popular sportspersons of his time, was also a former World number three.
He is survived by his son Gaurav and two daughters. "He passed away peacefully at home and we were all with him. He had been ailing for the last three months and he passed away peacefully," Gaurav told PTI.
"With the deepest sorrow, we would like to inform you that our beloved father Nandu Natekar passed away on 28th July 2021," the Natekar family informed in a message. "Keeping in mind the COVID-19 guidelines, we will not be having a condolence meeting. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers," the family said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also condoled his demise. "Shri Nandu Natekar has a special place in India's sporting history. He was an outstanding badminton player and a great mentor," Modi tweeted. "His success continues to motivate budding athletes. Saddened by his demise. My thoughts are with his family and friends in this sad hour. Om Shanti," the prime minister said.
Born in Sangli in western Maharashtra, Natekar won over 100 national and international titles in a career spanning over 15 years. He was also conferred with the prestigious sports award, Arjuna Award, in 1961. In his distinguished career, Natekar made it to the quarterfinals of the prestigious All England Championships in 1954.
He claimed Sellanger International in Malaysia in 1956, thus becoming the first Indian player to win an international event. He also won 12 out of the 16 singles matches and 8 out of 16 doubles as part of the Indian team at the Thomas Cup between 1951 and 1963. He also led the country in the tournament in 1959, 1961, and 1963.