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Thomas Cup: Hope this performance makes badminton as popular as cricket: Coach Vimal Kumar

By Pti

Bangkok, May 15: Indian men's badminton team coach Vimal Kumar on Sunday hoped the historic Thomas Cup triumph would do the same to the country's shuttle sport what the 1983 World Cup win did to cricket.

In beating 14-time winners Indonesia 3-0 in the summit showdown in Bangkok, Lakshya Sen, Kidambi Srikanth and the doubles duo of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy conjured one of the most remarkable feats in the country's sporting history.

Thomas Cup 2022: India clinch historic gold medal with win over IndonesiaThomas Cup 2022: India clinch historic gold medal with win over Indonesia

It was no surprise that Kumar was unable to describe the historic victory. "I have no words to describe it, we always had hopes but the way the players played, they just put up a performance out of the blue. It was really fantastic. We had such a poor record against indonesia and to win 3-0 is incredible," Kumar told PTI from Bangkok.

The unassuming coach, who goes about his job quietly, added, "In 1983, when India won the cricket World Cup, the euphoria was something else but cricket was always a very popular sport and I hope with this performance, now badminton can also become so popular.

Thomas Cup 2022: Full List of Award Winners, Prize Money, Records and StatisticsThomas Cup 2022: Full List of Award Winners, Prize Money, Records and Statistics

"It has always been about individual achievements but this was a team performance and I hope the popularity of the sports goes up from here on."

Kumar rated this as Indian badminton's biggest ever achievement. "I will rate this the biggest ever. Of course, Prakash and Gopi winning All England, Sindhu winning, all great achievements but as a team what we have done, we couldn't deliver as a team (earlier). You call one a badminton nation when you win a team championships, so I will rate it as the best."

India, who has never reached the last-four stage since 1979, ended up getting the better of formidable Malaysia and Denmark en route to the summit clash in this edition of the tournament.

Needless to say, the triumph on the day when it mattered the most sparked off wild celebrations in the Indian camp, less than 48 hours after they rejoiced their win over Denmark.

"I have never seen them so enthusiastic, it is a achievement of pure team spirit which I haven't seen in the past. We always had good players but priority was on individual players and tournaments. We have a balanced team and it did the trick.

"In each match what the doubles players have done is amazing, earlier we were dependent on singles but Satwik and Chirag pulled out all the pressure matches, so lot of credit to Lakhsya, Srikanth and Prannoy, for they delivered when it mattered. I am fortunate, lucky coach to be here with them," Kumar said.

"It is the best achievement of Indian badminton, and I feel so proud to be part of this historic team. It is a fantastic bunch of players."

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Story first published: Sunday, May 15, 2022, 19:30 [IST]
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