Defeating a 14-time champion in any game is an arduous task. But can it be done by a team appearing in the event for the first time? Team India did just that in the Thomas Cup 2022, held in Bangkok, Thailand.
The Indian men’s badminton team created history and made the country proud on Sunday, after beating Indonesia. Lakshya Sen, Kidambi Srikanth and Doubles players Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy were the players on the Indian side.
Prior to the finals the team defeated Malaysia and Denmark.
The Thomas Cup is considered to be the ‘world cup’ of shuttle badminton. Even though India has never attended the Thomas Cup before, the experience of all the players in other International tournaments aided in the success.
Remarkably, “Kidambi Srikanth outclassed Asian Games gold medallist Jonatan Christie 21-15 23-21 in 48 minutes to seal the historic victory,” reports Livemint.
According to the Badminton World Federation (BWF) rankings, Srikanth, who trains at the Gopichand Badminton Academy, currently ranks 11. He is a recipient of the Padma Shri (2018) and the Arjuna Award (2015). The player, in April 2018, was ranked as world number one by the BWF.
In a virtual press meet held after the victory, Srikanth said, “I will rate this as one of my biggest wins and I am happy that everyone played extremely well. I don’t think this is one individual’s win, it is about all 10 players. Everyone stepped up when it mattered.”
A gold medallist in the 2018 Asian Junior Championship, Lakshya Sen’s highest and latest ranking is 9. The 20-year-old gave India a 1-0 lead in the Thomas Cup final at one stage. “I’m happy that I pulled out a win in the third game. In the closing stages, I was really nervous and I was trying to control it with deep breaths,” reports IANS.
Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy were the double players of the tournament. The duo is India’s first men’s doubles pair to be ranked with a career-high 7th position.
“An emphatic Chirag Shetty took off his jersey and flung it hard into the stands to mark the historic occasion with an iconic shirtless celebration,” reported Times Now.
From Ganguly in lords to now chirag Shetty
Two historic moments in sports
India is witnessing it's historic day in badminton
Congratulations team India 🥳#ThomasCup #ThomasCup2022 pic.twitter.com/QaZcshLuqe
— 𝐥𝐢𝐩𝐬𝐚𝐚🍀🍷🍾RCB FTW (@akalkandho) May 15, 2022
Chirag (25) is a Mumbai native and has played a major role in the mixed team event at the 2018 Commonwealth Games where he won a silver medal.
Satwiksairaj, a 22-year-old player from Andhra Pradesh’s Amalapuram, has been Chirag’s constant partner.
Satwiksairaj is also a player from the Pullela Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad who decided to become a doubles specialist early in his career.
Appreciation poured in from all over the country.
“When I played the Olympics at Athens 2004, India had one player in the men’s badminton draw who lost very early. Today we are the Thomas Cup Champions in 2022. What depth Indian badminton! What a transformation!” wrote Viren Rasquinh, former Captain of the Indian Hockey Team.
When I played the Olympics at Athens 2004, India had 1 player in the mens badminton draw who lost very early. Today we are Thomas Cup Champions in 2022. What depth in Indian badminton. What a transformation. Winning mentality 👌🇮🇳🏸
— Viren Rasquinha (@virenrasquinha) May 15, 2022
Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to the players over the phone. The Sports Ministry has announced a cash prize of Rs 1 Crore for each player.
“I will rate this one of my biggest wins: Kidambi Srikanth on Thomas Cup final performance”, published by India Today Web Desk on May 16 2022.
“India win maiden Thomas Cup after defeating 14-time champion Indonesia! PM Modi dials team Mahindra calls it historic”, published by ET Online on May 16 2022.
“From Almora to Bangkok: Journey of ‘Sen’sational Lakshya”, published by IANS on 16 May.
“Thomas Cup Final 2022: Chirag Shetty celebrates shirtless after winning maiden title – Iconic pics and videos”, published by TN Viral Desk on May 15 2022.
“Thomas Cup 2022: Sports Ministry Announces Rs 1 Crore Cash Award For Victorious Indian Men’s Team”, published by ABP News Bureau on 15 May 2022.
Edited by Vinayak Hegde
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