Madhumita Bisht- The Iron Lady of Indian Badminton

Vishal Kungwani

Madhumita Bisht with Saina Nehwal

To all those who watch badminton, you might have seen an animated woman, constantly saying her prayers, cheering Indian shuttlers, jumping up and down in excitement and shedding tears of joy when they achieve a historic mile, that woman is none other than our Chief coach and eight times National Singles Champion, nine-time doubles and  twelve-time mixed doubles winner, Madhumita Bisht, who is also known as the first lady of Indian badminton.

Born on 5th October 1964 as Madhumita Goswami in Jalpaiguri, West Bengal, this former Arjuna Awardee is serving as the Chief coach of the Indian team for over a year now. Players might have their individual coaches like Vimal Kumar of Saina Nehwal, S.M Arif of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponappa and Pullela Gopichand of P.V Sindhu, Parupalli Kashyap etc but they are all tied to this 50-year-old, energetic and enthusiast woman, who is present in almost every match to boost up the morale and confidence of Indian players.

Her International Career

Bisht, who became the sub-junior badminton champion in the year 1977 won the bronze medal in women’s singles at 1982 Asian Games held in Delhi. She was also a part of the Indian team, who won the bronze at 1998 Bangkok Asian Games.In 1992, her world ranking was 29th and one of the best wins of her career came in that very year when she defeated the then world No. 2 Kusuma Sarwanta in the 2nd round of the Indonesian Open.

In the same year, she won a triple Crown at the Toulouse Open and was also awarded as the second best at the USSR open in Moscow.

She was also a very successful doubles player who represented India at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Apart from her International Achievements, she also holds the unique distinction of emerging the winner in all her eight appearances in the singles final of the National Badminton Championships. She got married in the year 1983 to a fellow badminton player Vikram Singh Bisht and was blessed with a boy child in 1993.

But she didn't stop playing neither after her marriage nor after becoming a mother. Instead, she carried on playing with the same degree of commitment and passion. “Ambition, a lot of hard work, dedication and being true to myself,'' she says. “If you've practised for one hour, don't fool yourself by saying that you've played for three hours.''

The level of International exposure then was not even half of what it is today. It was also very difficult to get a sponsor. For almost three months, she searched for a good sponsor to play abroad but all her efforts went in vain. Her ranking which was 29th in 1992 dropped down to 60th in 1993, but she never allowed her difficult circumstances to make a hindrance to her game. 

After almost a 27 years of competitive badminton, she finally announced her retirement in May 2002.

Coaching Career

Soon after announcing her retirement, she was appointed as the Chief coach of Indian Railways and trained the young shuttlers at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) badminton academy to nurture their level of play. In July 2012, Bisht, along with her husband opened a badminton academy by the name of MV Bisht Academy in Delhi to improve the condition of the game in our country.

MV Bisht academy has all the required facilities that would help one become a good badminton player, with six courts of International level and six very experienced coaches along with a physio, the academy gives the best facility to a player, who has ever thought of representing India at the highest level. The Academy has three centres, DDA Sports Complex, Siri Fort and Saket and Air Force Bal Bharti School, Lodhi Road. 

She was selected as the assistant coach of the Indian team before the Uber cup tournament in May 2014. Under her guidance, a number of Indian players like Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth, P.V Sindhu, Parupalli Kashyap etc have earned the best achievements in their career so far. She was awarded the Padma Shri in the year 2006.

Her dedication and devotedness to the game has helped hundreds of Indian shuttlers to fulfill their dreams. Looking back at her stupendous career as a player and as a coach, it is almost impossible to find a substitute for her. She is one of a kind.

“If you believe you can do it, you will do it. After all, we human beings are blessed with amazing abilities. It is for us to make the most of these abilities." Bisht once said. It is certainly an advice that all of us can use.



Originally published on here