This article was last updated on May 20, 2022
Indian badminton team came to the final game against Indonesia, the country with the most wins in the history of the team event, hoping for an unlikely win.
The India men’s team hasn’t done well at the world championships in this sport for a long time. But their Thomas Cup win has all the elements of a defining sports moment: it was rare, people couldn’t believe it, and it made a big difference.
Singles player Lakshya Sen worked hard to win against world number five Anthony Sinisuka Ginting, even though he was down a game. He did this to give Indian badminton team a 1-0 lead in the match.
Next, the doubles team of Satwik Sairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty beat Mohammad Ahsan and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo, who have won three world titles, after being down by four match points. This made the score 2-0 in their favor. Rankireddy and Shetty had lost 11 times in a row to one half of this other pair.
Kidambi Srikanth, who hadn’t lost a match all week and used to be number one in the world, was the last person to play. Srikanth played the best match of his life in the final. His reflex returns, smash-follow-up charges, and final cross-court smash will be shown in highlight reels for years to come.
Kidambi Srikanth, who used to be number one in the world, played the best game of his life in the final.
Not even close to the favorites
George Alan Thomas, an English player from the early 1900s, came up with the idea of a championship tournament for badminton, taking ideas from the World Cup in football and the Davis Cup in tennis. This tournament is now called the Thomas Cup.
Indian badminton team has only been able to take part in 13 of the 32 times the event has been held since 1948.
In the seven decades that the tournament has been going on, the championship title has only been won by China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, and Denmark.
With its win on Sunday, Indian badminton became the sixth country in history to join this exclusive group.
India joined the 16-team event earlier this month with its best players and a bold claim on the title on the players’ WhatsApp chat group: “It’s coming home.”
In the men’s finals of the Thomas and Uber Cup badminton tournament in Bangkok on May 15, 2022, India’s Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty play against Indonesia’s Mohammad Ahsan and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo.
Satwik Sairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty fought hard to win their doubles match after they were down four match points.
Because the team doesn’t have an official sponsor yet, the Indian players may have been the only ones at the tournament wearing plain Yonex jerseys. (This win might lead to change and get companies interested.)
The team wasn’t exactly an underdog like Leicester City in the 2015 English Premier League, which had odds of 5000-1. But neither of them was an obvious favorite.
They were in a good place where they could dream about winning without getting too comfortable.
Over the next few days, Indian badminton team has played against countries with better reputations, like Malaysia and Denmark. It also got past the biggest challenges, like playing against the top seeds and the defending champions, to reach the finals for the first time in history.
In cricket-crazy India, Indian badminton team is still mostly based in the southern states, mostly in the cities of Hyderabad and Bangalore, which are its two main centers.
The fact that the country has had two Olympic medalists and two All England champions in this sport is a sign of how talented each person is.
So, a team gold at the Thomas Cup with 10 players on the podium shows the strength and will of the men’s team in a sport where everyone is hardwired to put themselves first.