Thomas Cup win not a small feat, keep it up - PM Modi to team

Narendra Modi congratulates the Indian team in person during an interaction with the badminton squad on Sunday.

Narendra Modi with K. Srikanth during a felicitation ceremony of India’s badminton contingent for the Thomas and Uber Cup on Sunday.

Winning the Thomas Cup title isn’t a small feat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told India’s victorious team during an interaction with the players on Sunday.

On Sunday, a few days after congratulating the players over telephone for their historic triumph in Bangkok, Modi met them in person and interacted with the badminton squad which also included players from the Uber Cup team.

“I congratulate the whole team on behalf of the nation. This is not a small feat. You have done it. There was a time when we were so behind in these tournaments that no one would know here,” said Modi.

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Modi relived the memory of the historic Thomas Cup campaign where India clinched the gold medal by defeating favourite Indonesia. He congratulated the team for their efforts and said people earlier never cared for these tournaments and that thanks to the Thomas Cup win, the country took notice of the team and the sport of badminton.

“The ‘Yes, we can do it’ attitude has become the new strength in the country today. I assure you that the government will give all possible support to our players,” Modi said.

‘Privilege’

Modi congratulated senior player K. Srikanth for the manner in which the 29-year-old shouldered the responsibility of spearheading the Indian challenge, especially in his final game in the championship. “I can very proudly say that no other athlete in the world can boast about this, sir. Only we have this privilege of talking to you immediately after winning. First of all, thank you so much, sir,” Srikanth said.

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“Athletes will be proud to say that we have the backing of our prime minister,” he added.

Chief national coach P. Gopichand said, “PM follows the players and the sport, and his thoughts connect with the players.”

Doubles coach Mathias Boe said, “I have a been a player and won medals, but have never been called by my PM.”

Shuttler Lakshya Sen gifted the PM Almora’s famous ‘bal mithai’ after he expressed his interest to savour the taste of the sweets. “The PM asked for Almora’s bal mithai and I got it for him. It is touching that he remembers small things about players,” Sen said.

“We feel very motivated whenever you meet us, interact with us. I hope I keep winning medals for India, keep meeting you, and keep getting bal mithai for you,” Sen added.

What is there in the soil of Haryana that it keeps producing one great player after another? asked Modi. Woman shuttler Unnati Hooda, who hails from Haryana, was delighted at meeting the PM. “Sir, what motivates me is that you don't discriminate between the medallists and non medallists,” Hooda said.

Doubles specialist Satwiksairaj Rankireddy said the players slept with their medals after the memorable title triumph last week.