Indian men's badminton team has a realistic chance of securing a medal at the Thomas Cup Final, believed top doubles player Chirag Shetty, who is eyeing a spirited show at the prestigious event after missing out the Sudirman Cup due to an injury.
Just weeks before heading to Sudirman Cup, Chirag had pulled his abdominal muscle, forcing him to skip the mixed team championships and he was itching to return to the court at Thomas Cup, which will be his first event since the Tokyo Olympics.
"Two weeks before going for Sudirman, I pulled my Abs and I decided to skip the Sudirman Cup. But I am now fit and really looking forward to the Thomas Cup Finals," Chirag, one half of the world No. 10 pair, told PTI in an interview.
The rescheduled Thomas and Uber Cup Finals, the men's and women's team tournament respectively, will be held from October 9 to 17 at Aarhus, Denmark.
India has been drawn against defending champions China, Netherlands and Tahiti in Group C and Chirag said they "definitely have a chance" of returning with a medal.
"We have strong doubles pairs, not only strong singles players this time. So we can win a medal as well. We are definitely in for a medal. Last team champion that we played, it was Asian Team championship and we ended up with a bronze, so I feel we have the team to win a medal," he said.
"Looking at the draw, we should reach the quarterfinal first and then step up our game to go for medal."
Chirag said one of the reasons he pulled out of the Sudirman Cup was because he didn't want to aggravate the injury considering the fact that they have back-to-back tournaments lined up in the rest of the year.
"Initially I thought it was just a normal strain, so physio told me to rest for two days but the pain was still there, so later it was diagnosed that it will take another six days, so since I couldn't train I decided that it was better to skip this one," he said.
"Till the last moment I was supposed to go, but there are three more tournaments after Sudirman Cup, so playing five weeks without practice would not make any sense, I could have aggravate the injury. So decided to focus on Thomas Cup."
Chirag and his men's doubles partner Satwiksairaj Rankireddy are currently not training under Danish chief doubles coach Mathias Boe, whose contract expired after the Olympics.
"We wanted Boe to continue but he had other commitments. He won't be able to be here full time so his contract couldn't be extended. BAI was also happy with his performance, so the officials are still trying to work out a way and also looking for a few new coaches," the Mumbaikar said.