Launched on October 1st, 1994 – the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy (PPBA) is a multi-sport Padukone-Dravid Centre for Sports Excellence campus spread over 15 acres close to the Kempegowda International Airport, Bangalore, which has over the years produced national and international stars. Also Read - Sports Ministry to do Away With Salary Cap of Rs 2 Lakh For Coaches
Stalwarts of Indian badminton – Prakash Padukone, Vimal Kumar, and Vivek Kumar were the ones who came together to give back to the sport. Also Read - Pullela Gopichand Recommends HS Prannoy For Arjuna Award
India’s first All England Badminton Champion, Padukone was at the helm of affairs at the Academy. A year after its launch – in 1995 – the PPBA hosted the first-ever All India Badminton tournament. The Academy is also responsible for honing budding players like Pullela Gopichand, Aparna Popat, and Nikhil Kanetkar among others to make it big in the world of badminton. In 1998, the trio represented the country at the Commonwealth Games. Also Read - Pullela Gopichand on COVID-19 Impact: With Virtually No Income, Coaches And Support Staff Are Worse-hit Professionals
With time – Padukone’s Academy grew and in 1999 – PPBA launched a new centre in Pune – expanding and growing at the same time.
It did not take long as all the hard work paid dividends in 2000 when Gopichand, one of Padukone’s most trusted students, guided India to it’s first-ever Thomas Cup finals after which there was no stopping Padukone.
A year later, All India Open, which was started by PPBA upgraded itself to Asian Satellite Level to permit international players to participate. Aparna went on to win the inaugural edition of the event, which was a massive boost for Padukone and the academy, which was growing at a fast pace.
In 2004, Vimal Kumar, who was the head coach at PPBA took over as the National Badminton coach.
Sensing growth and an opportunity to latch onto, the TATA Group came in as the lead sponsors of the Academy, and soon the first TATA Open was held in 2008.
In the years that followed, the Academy grew and opened centres in Mumbai as well. In 2014, the Academy completed 20 years and to date continues to tap talent and hone it.