The men’s badminton team lifting India’s maiden Thomas Cup title won the 2023 Sportstar Aces Popular Choice Award for Moment of the Year at the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai on Monday.
India became only the sixth country in the world to lift the Thomas Cup on May 15 after crushing 14-time champion Indonesia 3-0 in the final at Bangkok. Lakshya Sen and Kidambi Srikanth won their singles matches and Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy won their doubles encounter to make it a convincing victory for India in a tournament that is seven decades old.
It is one of India’s greatest achievements in sport, comparable to Neeraj Chopra’s gold at the Tokyo Olympics, Viswanathan Anand’s first World Chess Championship in 2000, the cricket team’s stunning victory at the 1983 World Cup, and the six successive gold medals in men’s hockey, from 1928 to 1956.
READ: 1983 World Cup winning team pays tribute to Yashpal Sharma at Sportstar Aces Awards
World championships bronze medallist Lakshya defeated Indonesia’s Anthony Sinisuka Ginting 8-21, 21-17, 21-16 in the first men’s singles to give India a 1-0 lead. In the first doubles game, Satwiksairaj and Chirag saved four match points before beating Mohammad Ahsan and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo 18-21, 23-21, 21-19 to extend India’s lead to 2-0.
Srikanth sealed the historic triumph by winning three points in a row including a glorious cross court smash at 22-21 against Jonatan Christie after winning the first two sets 21-15, 23-21. The Indian contingent went into delirium, rushing onto the court to lift Srikanth on their shoulders and holding the tricolour aloft to mark the momentous occasion.
Former India cricketer Sunil Gavaskar, former India hockey captain M. M. Somaya, chess great Viswanathan Anand, former India football skipper Bhaichung Bhutia, Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra and Olympians Anjali Bhagwat and Aparna Popat are the members of the Sportstar Aces 2023 jury.
The event is supported by IDFC First Bank, Indian Oil, India Cements, United India, Ramaiah University, Experimenta Science Center GD Naidu Charity, Finolex Pipes, LIC, BPCL, Samsonite, Big Basket, Nippon Paint, CRICHQ, Wordswork, NewsX and Casagrand.