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Hope Thomas Cup triumph does for badminton what 1983 World Cup win did for cricket: Vimal Kumar


Vimal Kumar, the head coach of the Indian men’s badminton team, on Sunday, May 15, hoped the historic Thomas Cup victory would popularise the country’s shuttle sport, exactly how the 1983 World Cup win in England did to cricket.

Kidambi Srikanth, Lakshya Sen, and the doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy scripted one of the most incredible feats in the country’s sporting history. They defeated 14-time winners Indonesia 3-0 in the summit showdown in Bangkok. Kumar was over the moon after the remarkable performance.

“I have no words to describe it, we always had hopes but the way the players played, they just put up a performance out of the blue. It was really fantastic. We had such a poor record against Indonesia and to win 3-0 is incredible,” Kumar was quoted as saying.

THE BIGGEST EVER

“In 1983, when India won the cricket World Cup, the euphoria was something else, but cricket was always a very popular sport and I hope with this performance, now badminton can also become so popular.

“It has always been about individual achievements but this was a team performance and I hope the popularity of the sport goes up from here on,” he added.

Kumar said that the triumph in the Thomas Cup is the biggest in Indian badminton’s history.

“I will rate this as the biggest ever. Of course, Prakash and Gopi winning All England, Sindhu winning, all great achievements, but as a team what we have done, we couldn’t deliver as a team (earlier). You call one a badminton nation when you win a team championship, so I will rate it as the best.”

India, who has never qualified for the last-four stage since 1979, ended up dominating the formidable Malaysia and Denmark en route to the summit clash in this edition of the championship.

It goes without saying that the stupendous win sparked off wild celebrations in the Indian camp, less than 48 hours after they thumped Denmark.

“I have never seen them so enthusiastic; it is an achievement of pure team spirit which I haven’t seen in the past. We always had good players but the priority was on individual players and tournaments. We have a balanced team and it did the trick.

“In each match, what the doubles players have done is amazing. Earlier, we were dependent on singles, but Satwik and Chirag pulled out all the pressure matches, so a lot of credit to Lakhsya, Srikanth and Prannoy, for they delivered when it mattered. I am a fortunate, lucky coach to be here with them,” Kumar said.

“It is the best achievement of Indian badminton, and I feel so proud to be part of this historic team. It is a fantastic bunch of players.”



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