Legendary badminton star Nandu Natekar passed away today, 28 July. In 1956, the 88-year-old sporting legend was the first Indian to win an international trophy. Along with many laurels to his name, he also won over 100 national and international titles in his shining career. Natekar was suffering from age-related ailments.
The badminton player has been survived by his only son Gaurav and two daughters.
The badminton legend’s son Gaurav told news agency PTI that his father (Nandu Natekar) passed away peacefully at home. He further informed that he was ailing for the last three months.
Widely regarded as one of India’s most popular athletes, Natekar received the prestigious Arjuna Award for his contributions to the sport in 1961.
As the news about his demise made headlines, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to social media and condoled the death of the Indian badminton legend. Taking to his Twitter account, PM Modi said that Natekar had a special place in India’s sporting history. Despite being an outstanding badminton player, he was also a great mentor.
Shri Nandu Natekar has a special place in India’s sporting history. He was an outstanding badminton player and a great mentor. 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.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 28, 2021
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma also expressed grief over the death of Natekar. He asserted that Natekar has left behind a rich legacy for the coming generations, that all of us will cherish forever. He also stated that the badminton player will be remembered fondly for his drives, drops, and smashes.
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. pic.twitter.com/jfDl4eShoQ
— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) July 28, 2021
Even Sports Minister Anurag Thakur paid tribute to Natekar saying the badminton star was an exceptional player who leaves behind an outstanding sporting legacy. He also mentions that generations of athletes have drawn inspiration from him.
Sh. Nandu Natekar was an exceptional badminton player who leaves behind an outstanding sporting legacy. In 1961 he was conferred with the prestigious Arjuna Award. A generation of athletes have drawn inspiration from him. Sincere condolences to his family & friends. pic.twitter.com/1WXnPqYIG1
— Anurag Thakur (@ianuragthakur) July 28, 2021
Here are a few other tweets that paid tribute to the late legendary player:
In the passing of Nandu Natekar, India has lost one of its sporting pioneers. A great player, he brought international recognition to Indian badminton. Honoured with the Arjuna Award, he mentored and inspired generations of sportspersons. Condolences to his family & admirers.
— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) July 28, 2021
Saddened to hear about the passing away of badminton champion, Shri Nandu Natekar ji. His achievements & legacy shall forever serve as an inspiration to sportsmen across the country.
My heartfelt condolences to his family & fans.
— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) July 28, 2021
Saddened by the demise of iconic badminton player, Shri Nandu Natekar. He made an invaluable contribution to Indian Badminton & won over 100 national & international titles. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family members. Om Shanti! pic.twitter.com/iURrwlUDfR
— Vice President of India (@VPSecretariat) July 28, 2021
Saddened to hear about the passing away of former Indian badminton player Nandu Natekar, who was the first shuttler to receive Arjuna Award. My condolences to the bereaved family members, fans and followers. Om Shanti
— Naveen Patnaik (@Naveen_Odisha) July 28, 2021
When I was growing up Nandu Natekar was a sporting icon. He was more than a badminton champion. A wonderful human being who inspired so many.
— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) July 28, 2021
Heartfelt condolences at passing away of legendary former badminton national champion #NanduNatekar ji.He inspired sportspersons as first Indian to win an international title & first shuttler to receive Arjuna Award.May his family find strength to bear this loss.May his soul RIP.
— Ashok Gehlot (@ashokgehlot51) July 28, 2021
Extremely saddened to learn about the unfortunate demise of legendary Badminton player Shri Nandu Natekar. Heartfelt condolences to the family. Our prayers to God for the departed soul & to provide strength to the bereaved family. pic.twitter.com/IQ8CsY9231
— Ministry of Culture (@MinOfCultureGoI) July 28, 2021