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Aparna Popat

Aparna Popat (born 18 January 1978) is a former Indian badminton player. She was India's national champion for a record equaling nine times when she won all the senior national championships between 1997 and 2006. Early life Aparna Popat was born on 18 January 1978 in Mumbai, Maharashtra into a Gujarati family of Lalji Popat and Heena Popat. She studied at the J. B. Petil High School in Mumbai and her Pre-university course from Mount Carmel College, in Bangalore. Aparna also holds a bachelor's degree in Commerce from the Mumbai University. Training background Aparna started playing badminton in 1986 in Mumbai. As an 8-year old when she approached Anil Pradhan for coaching, he saw a spark in the girl and told her parents "Give me this girl and I will put her on the map of Indian Badminton". Being a National champion himself, he helped her develop skills required to face the many challenges of the game. In 1994, she shifted to the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy in Bangalore to further expand her capabilities. Training under the legendary Prakash Padukone, former All-England champion, she built up her fitness and learned techniques to be more competitive at the international level. Yearning to expand her learning, in 2002 she shifted to the Sports Authority of India training centre at Kengeri, Bangalore where she learnt the nuances of the game under coach Gangula Prasad. Career highlights Aparna captured her first Senior National title at Hyderabad in 1997. She went on to win the Senior National title till 2006, thereby equaling the Prakash Padukone's record of winning nine consecutive national singles titles. She won her last of the nine Senior Nationals titles at the age of 27 after defeating the 15-year-old Saina Nehwal at Bangalore in January 2006. The highlights of her achievements at the international level are participation in 2 Olympic Games, 1 Asian Games, a silver medal at the World Junior Championships in 1996 and 4 medals in 3 Commonwealth Games appearances. She reached career-high world ranking of 16. Retirement After 17 years of professional badminton, she retired from the game in 2006 after suffering a wrist injury that remained un-diagnosed. She remained undefeated at the National championships. Post retirement she was employed with Indian Oil Corporation in Mumbai till 2015.


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