Vimal Kumar, Indian badminton team manager, hails Thomas Cup win as biggest achievement

“I don’t have any words to describe it. I have never seen them so enthusiastic. It was complete team spirit. We have never seen this in the past. These players are incredible,” Vimal said.

File photo of Vimal Kumar.   -  THE HINDU

Vimal Kumar, former international and manager of the victorious Indian team in the Thomas Cup in Bangkok, said on Sunday that to be part of the historic feat was a great feeling.

“We are going to have a nice meal and the BAI chief has given us permission to go anywhere we want,” he said during a virtual media interaction in the evening.

“I don’t have any words to describe it. I have never seen them so enthusiastic. It was complete team spirit. We have never seen this in the past. These players are incredible,” Vimal said.

“Earlier we used to depend on singles players but now we have doubles players and they pulled off some incredible wins. Equally, credit should be given to Lakshya Sen, Srikanth and Prannoy. It is just fantastic,” he said.

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“I would rate this as the biggest ever achievement. Of course, Prakash, Gopi winning All England, Sindhu and Saina winning medals in Olympics and World championships were special. But, as a team, we could never deliver when it mattered. When you call a nation a top badminton nation, all singles and doubles players perform. That is exactly what happened,” he explained.

On Prannoy, Vimal said they knew he would deliver if he was given time and space. “If you have put him through trials, he would have injured himself. He delivered in crucial matches in Malaysia, and Denmark. Denmark was crucial, it was tough,” he said.

In the final, Vimal said the players were just told not to take pressure and just enjoy. “The advantage we had was our singles players being dominant, men’s doubles against Indonesia was poor and when it really mattered they pulled it off. That was something fantastic,” he said.

“It was great to see the seniors Srikanth and Prannoy take the initiative to motivate the youngsters with their comforting words. All of them firmly believed they would be able to turn things around, and win. It was purely a fantastic team effort,” he said.

READ: Gopichand sees India's maiden ThomasCup title glow as bright as 1983 cricket World Cup win

“A lot of credit should also go to the coaches who worked hard, and motivated. Overall it is a fantastic group of players,” the Indian team manager said.

“I think this win should spur Indian badminton itself like the 1983 World Cup win did to cricket in India. It is a dream come true for me to see this fantastic performance in my lifetime in the Thomas Cup,” Vimal said.

On Lakshya Sen, the manager said the shuttler recovered from food poisoning from the day he landed in Bangkok. “But, he got better and better every day. He is a great addition to the Indian team,” Vimal said.

Vimal said Srikanth certainly shaped up really well and has been showing the kind of progress expected of him ever since the last World Championship final appearance. “Importantly, he has also become a great motivator for the younger players,” he added.

The victorious manager said they were all happy that Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to them after the victory.

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