Nandu Natekar became the first Indian to win an international title when he clinched the Sellanger International in Malaysia in 1956 and even made the quarter-finals of the All England Championships in 1954.
Badminton great Nandu Natekar died aged 88 in Pune on Wednesday. The first Indian to win an international title, Natekar is survived by his son Gaurav and two daughters.
“He passed away peacefully at home and we were all with him and he has been ailing for the last three months and he passed away peacefully,” Gaurav told PTI.
“With deepest sorrow, we would like to inform you that our beloved father Nandu Natekar passed away on 28th July, 2021,” the Natekar family said in a message.
Natekar won the Sellanger International in Malaysia in 1956. He also made the quarter-finals of the prestigious All England Championships in 1954.
Considered one of the most popular sportspersons of his time, Natekar was also ranked third in the world and won over 100 national and international titles in his career. He was suffering from age-related ailments.
He won 12 out of the 16 singles matches and eight out of 16 in doubles as part of the Indian team at the Thomas Cup between 1951 and 1963. He also had the distinction of leading the country in the tournament in 1959, 1961 and 1963.
He had also represented India at the 1965 Commonwealth Games in Jamaica.
Born in Sangli in western Maharashtra, Natekar’s distinguished career spanned over 15 years. He was conferred with the prestigious Arjuna Award in 1961.