Image: REPUBLIC/ PTI
The Indian Men's Badminton Team scripted history on Sunday as they dominated Indonesia in the finale of the Thomas Cup in Bangkok, Thailand. India's star player Kidambi Srikanth, who was one of the key architects of the monumental victory, stated during a super exclusive interview with Republic TV that it was the confidence and consistency which helped the team register the victory despite immense mental pressure throughout the game.
Responding to a question regarding the mental pressure during the cup-winning game, Srikanth avered that confidence and consistency were key to the victory. “I knew that we could be the Thomas Cup champions. All I was thinking about was playing the best badminton and making the best result possible. I am happy that I contributed to the team's victory,” the ace player said, adding that he is still ‘speechless’ while watching the replay of the game.
Opening up about the cup-winning strategy, Srikanth said, “I was playing well throughout the tournament. My coach told me to be there and be consistent. An early lead was important. India was leading 2-0 before the match. We needed to be consistent and focussed without giving away easy points,” Srikanth told Republic TV. Further stressing the point, he added that consistency was key while playing at the top-most level of the game.
As Indian Men's Badminton team clinched the historic first-ever Thomas Cup gold medal, Kidambi Srikanth, while speaking to Republic TV, shared his experience. Speaking about the triumph, Srikanth shared his happiness and expressed gratitude to the government and the people. “It feels great, it's a great experience to bring the Thomas Cup home,” he said.
“I want to thank everyone for all the support. The next generation, who have started playing badminton now or are progressing in their careers professionally have all support from the government. They have the potential and if they keep trying hard, we can expect more Thomas Cups for India,” Srikanth said while sharing his winning experience with Republic TV.
Srikanth also explained how a WhatsApp group created by him made a difference in the team’s approach to the tournament. “We named it ‘it’s coming home’ even before we came to Thailand. It was mainly about motivating ourselves. Playing best badminton and believing we can do it. We always thought we are capable,” Srikanth said.
Responding to a question about the Indian team’s bond at the tournament that lead to its victory against 5-times champions Malaysia and European giants Denmark, Srikanth avered that the team was collectively motivated to win for the country. “There were a lot of youngsters in the team. All of them were excited. All of them wanted to do something for the nation,” he said.
“Just taking any medal in the Thomas cup would be huge. We were all excited to do well. We just had to calm everyone down and play well in the one hour each of us got. It's all about being consistent. Sometimes, we won doubles. But it was never together. We wanted to do something together as a team for the nation," Srikanth told in his exclusive interview with Republic TV.
India registered their maiden Thomas Cup victory after beating 14-time champions Indonesia by 3-0. Lakshya Sen who suffered losses ahead of the final finally delivered a big match performance to give India a 1-0 victory against Indonesia in the Thomas Cup final. Sen defeated world number five Anthony Sinisuka Ginting after losing the first set. The Indian shuttler defeated his Indonesian opponent 8-21, 21-17, 21-16. After Sen's victory, it was the turn of the doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy to extend the lead for the team. The young pair lost the first set to the Indonesian duo of Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo and Mohammad Ahsan.
The young pair were on the verge of losing the match as their opponents had four match points in hand. Shetty and Raniklreddy however turned the tables showcasing their nerves of steel by saving four match points in the second game and winning the second game. The Indian pair clinched the final set 21-19 and gave the team 2-0 lead. In the third match, Kidambi Srikanth showcased all his experience helping the team get over the line. Srikanth produced a dominating performance by outclassing Jonathan Christie 21-15, 23-21 in just 48 minutes.