Tracing its roots back to the 19th century, badminton has a rich heritage in India. It was first introduced to the country by British military officers stationed in what was then called Poona, now Pune. Originally referred to as “Poona,” this modern sport swiftly captured the interest of the Indian upper class. In 1873, the first official badminton society, the Poona Club, was inaugurated. The game’s popularity continued to expand across the Indian subcontinent, leading to the establishment of the All India Badminton Association in 1934, which was charged with regulating and encouraging the sport.
Throughout the years, India has given rise to numerous badminton greats who have left a significant imprint on the global arena. Prakash Padukone, during the 1980s, distinguished himself as the first Indian to secure a victory in the esteemed All England Open Badminton Championships. Another significant figure in Indian badminton, Pullela Gopichand, claimed the All England title in 2001, and went on to launch the Gopichand Badminton Academy to foster the development of future badminton talents.
Slowly but steadily, India is becoming a dominant force in the badminton sport. With the Badminton World Federation (BWF) organizing tournaments all over the world throughout the year, India is making a strong statement in those competitions through its exceptional performances. One such tournament is the Malaysia Masters which was inaugurated in 2009 where India is showing its prowess. To date, Indians have captured the title on four occasions in the event. We will take a look at the shuttlers who have been able to claim the event, staged annually in Malaysia.
Who are the Indians to have won the Malaysia Masters title?
1) PV Sindhu (Editions – 2013 and 2016, Event – Women’s Singles)
PV Sindhu overcame Kirsty Gilmour with a score of 21-15, 21-9, clinching the Women’s Singles title at the Malaysia Masters 2015 Grand Prix Gold in Penang, Malaysia. This victory marked a successful beginning to her 2016 season. In the ultimate showdown in Penang, Sindhu, hailing from India, defeated Scotland’s Kirsty Gilmour, ranked 20th globally, with an impressive score line.
This victory added a second Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold title to Sindhu’s accolades, with her maiden win dating back to 2013. The 2013 victory was a significant one for Sindhu, as it solidified her position as a rising talent in Indian badminton. Her first Grand Prix Gold title was secured in Malaysia, after an intense final against Juan Gu from Singapore. Sindhu eventually won after beating her fifth-seeded opponent with a score of 21-17, 17-21, 21-19.
2) Saina Nehwal (Edition – 2017, Event – Women’s Singles)
Saina Nehwal claimed victory over Thailand’s Pornpawee Chochuwong in the Malaysia Masters 2017 final, winning with scores of 22-20 in both sets. Initially, Saina had a shaky commencement to the match, lagging 0-4 in the initial set. Chochuwong led the halfway point with a score of 11-5. However, the Indian took over the latter part of the set, winning it 22-20.
In the second set, Chochuwong once again surged ahead with a 3-0 lead. However, Saina caught up by equalizing the scores. From then onwards, Saina took the reins of the set. The set witnessed several ups and downs, with Chochuwong managing to level the scores towards the end, forcing the set into a tie-breaker. Yet, Saina emerged victorious and secured the set and consequently won the match.
3) HS Prannoy (Edition – 2023, Event – Men’s Singles)
HS Prannoy of India secured his debut title at the BWF World Tour level on Sunday, prevailing over China’s Weng Hong Yang in the men’s singles final. The match was a three-set marathon, with Prannoy clinching the win with scores of 21-19, 13-21, 21-18 in a total of 94 minutes. The pathway to the men’s singles final was paved for Prannoy after his semi-final competitor, Indonesia’s Christian Adinata, had to withdraw due to a severe knee injury.
Prannoy, the world’s ninth-ranked player, was ahead with a score of 19-17 when Adinata slipped during a jump return and his left knee gave way which caused the Indonesian player severe discomfort. This event was Prannoy’s first tournament of the season and his second final appearance since being the runner-up at the Swiss Open the previous year.
Indians who have won the Malaysia Masters title
|H S Prannoy
More Badminton Stats-
1) Badminton Stats: Which are the nations that have won the Sudirman Cup?
2) Badminton Asia Championships: Indians who have won medals at the event
3) Asians who have won the Orleans Masters Badminton Tournament