Badminton Association of India (BAI) vice-president P. Gopichand believes India’s historic win over Indonesia in the Thomas Cup final, dubbed as the World team championship in badminton, can be compared to India’s victory in the 1983 cricket World Cup.
“This is a huge, huge victory for Indian badminton itself. And also personally for me,” Gopichand told Sportstar after India blanked Indonesia 3-0 in the final in Bangkok on Sunday.
“Everytime people try to put me down, God has given me something really special. Something to be really proud of. This is a huge personal victory for me too,” said the former India national coach.
“Well, to beat top guns like Malaysia, Denmark, Indonesia and win the championship is not a joke. It speaks volumes of the kind of effort the players put in. It is a complete team effort,” he said.
“It is obvious that they pushed each other to the hilt under pressure," Gopichand said.
“Yes, I believe this victory propels Indian badminton to a new high. And I must thank the BAI for the kind of support it extended consistently to ensure that these kind of results are there,” the former All England champion said.
The celebrations when Srikanth scripted the golden moment against Jonathan Christie were also symbolic of the way the team combined right through this championship.
It is imperative to take note of the presence of Vimal Kumar as the manager of this Indian team, Mathias Boe as the men’s doubles team coach, Siyadath Ullah and Vijaydeep Singh as the singles coaches and Lakshya Sen accompanied by Korean coach Yoo Yong, who trains the new star at Prakash Padukone Academy in Bengaluru.
In this moment of historic triumph, the way H. S. Prannoy chipped in, clearly vindicating the confidence of the team management in him after being picked on form and not made to undergo the selection trials for this championship.
So, was the brilliance of former World No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth, who quite fittingly produced the winning touch to the campaign. The World championship silver medallist served a reminder, in a way, that he is still one of the most feared customers in the circuit.
And, who can forget the way the doubles pairing of R. Satwiksairaj and Chirag Shetty combined
Ever since Tan Kim Her decided to pair up these two in 2016, there was no looking back.
With Lakshya Sen ensuring the perfect start against Anthony Ginting in the first singles with a high-quality display, the stage was set for Satwik and Chirag to raise the bar.
That incredible backhander through the legs by Chirag in the tense moments of the second game when the Indian duo was staring at defeat, was a pointer to the never-say-die attitude of this amazing combination.
After Tan Kim Her quit in 2019, after ensuring his trainees were better off in skills and tactics, the next coach Flandy Limpele ensured the focus was on fitness and defence. And more importantly, Gopi saw to it that Satwik and Chirag were part of every Indian team even if it meant they were a reserve pair.
And, no one can take the credit away from Siyadath, the silent performer who has been part of Indian contingents for close to a decade, doing his job in the most simple and effective manner without ever tyring to grab the media limelight.
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