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Monday, April 15, 2024

Master of “spin service” and ace shuttler Satish Bhatia dies; fraternity laments loss

<p>Following a protracted illness, Wing Commander Satish Bhatia (retd), a former Indian badminton player who is credited with creating the outlawed “spin service,” passed away on Wednesday. He was eighty-one.</p>
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<p>Bhatia, a former badminton coach for the University of Texas Sports Department, competed in three Thomas Cups (1963, 1966, and 1969), held the title of Junior World Champion throughout the 1960s, and participated in the Asian and Commonwealth Games in the 1970s.</p>
<p>“He was known in the badminton circles as a left-handed singles exponent with the deadly’spin service,’” according to his daughter Aarti. A few players thought he could only spin Indian shuttles, such as Jabico, Skylark, and Albatross. However, he said that even with the globally used RSL shuttles, he could perform the forehand “spin service” with an upright shuttle, cutting across the cork (as opposed to the subsequently outlawed backhand “Sidek” serve with an upside-down shuttle, cutting over the feathers).</p>
<p>Bhatia, who turned eighty-one this month, was always up for a conversation about badminton. “In 1968, I saw Satish compete against the two-time All-England winner Rudy Hartono. Rudy was driven insane by the attractive southpaw, who used his signature forehand spin serve against him. One of his supporters, Shirish Nadkarni, said that the Indonesian player struggled to manage the serve return in the opening game, behind 1-14, game-point, despite trying to hurry and tap the serve.</p>
<p>The key</p>
<p>In response to questions regarding the “spin service” secret, Bhatia would often chuckle and remark, “No, I won’t be telling you the secret.” On the court, you will beat me if I don’t. A cheerful Bhatia would constantly greet children with a broad grin and urge them to take up badminton, no matter what.</p>
<p>Bhatia battled cancer for a considerable amount of time before passing away on Wednesday. This is a significant setback for the badminton community. Many others found inspiration in him, according to Surinder Mahajan, general secretary of the Chandigarh Badminton Association (CBA) and joint secretary of the Badminton Association of India (BAI). Bhatia flew Dakotas and Devnos for the first time, and he has approximately 6,000 hours of flying experience.</p>

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