Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday interacted with the members of the Indian Men's Badminton Team who scripted history earlier this week to win the country's first-ever gold medal at the Thomas Cup. PM Modi congratulated the players on behalf of the nation for achieving the landmark victory in the competition. The players shared their experiences from the tournament and also talked about different aspects of the game with PM Modi.
PM Modi told the players that winning the Thomas Cup is not a small feat. He went on to say that before India won the Thomas Cup, only a handful of people in the country were aware that such a tournament existed. PM Modi asked Kidambi Srikanth how he felt when he was named captain of the Indian men's squad for the Thomas Cup. Srikanth claimed that as captain, he didn't have to do much because the entire team was doing well. Srikanth explained that all he had to do was establish an environment that would keep the team together and encourage everyone to perform well.
Srikanth then went on to thank PM Modi for his call immediately after the men's team won the Thomas Cup last Sunday. He explained how no other athlete in the world can boast about talking to their Prime Minister immediately after a game, adding "only we have that privilege". When PM Modi asked about the decisive set that Srikanth played in the final, the 29-year-old Indian shuttler said it was a privilege for him to contribute to the winning moment.
"The last ten days have been very memorable both on and off the court. We received a lot of support from everyone and it felt really good. Mentally, we are still in Thailand. We are enjoying the moment. After the final, everyone slept with their medals on," Satwiksairaj Rankireddy told PM Modi.
"I recall you inviting all Olympic athletes to your home last year, even those who did not win medals. We were disappointed that we were unable to win a medal for the country at the time, but this time when we travelled to participate in the Thomas Cup, we were ecstatic and filled with a desire to win a medal for the country. We didn't expect a gold medal, but a podium spot was definitely on our minds," partner Chirag Shetty added.
PM Modi also spoke with the Indian Women's Badminton Team, which lost in the quarters of this year's Uber Cup. PM Modi told the Indian women's team that they would definitely do well in their next campaign and urged them not to give up on their dream easily.
"This is the start of something big. For the first time in 70 years, you have instilled new energy and passion in the next generation of Indian youth. Every badminton player in the last 70 years has undoubtedly aspired to win the medal that you have won. This is no easy task. I'm reiterating it because you've accomplished something significant. It benefits the entire Indian sporting ecosystem when you achieve anything significant in your sport. It provides self-assurance, energy, and confidence that no coach or politician can give," PM Modi said during his interaction with the Indian Thomas and Uber Cup contingent.
PM Modi briefly interacted with Unnati Hooda, the youngest member of India's Thomas and Uber Cup contingent. "Sir, I am really happy to be part of this group. One thing that motivates me a lot is that you never discriminate between medalists and non-medalists," Unnati said.
Interacted with our badminton champions, who shared their experiences from the Thomas Cup and Uber Cup. The players talked about different aspects of their game, life beyond badminton and more. India is proud of their accomplishments. https://t.co/sz1FrRTub8— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 22, 2022
Our #ThomasCup2022 champions were elated after meeting the Hon'ble Prime Minister @narendramodi Sir. We are sure his wisdom, his words will motivate them to bring more such laurels for the nation 💪🇮🇳— BAI Media (@BAI_Media) May 22, 2022
📸: @Media_SAI#IndiaontheRise#Badminton pic.twitter.com/PPJ79GsabX
India reached the Thomas Cup final after defeating Denmark 3-2 in the semis on May 13. HS Prannoy played a vital role in the semi-final as he helped India break the 2-2 tie by beating World No. 13 Rasmus Gemke 13-21 21-9 21-12 in the fifth and final set. India stormed into the final to play against 14-time champions Indonesia, who had reached the summit clash after defeating Japan in the semis.
India won the final after defeating 14-time champions Indonesia 3-0. The final began with a clash between young Indian talent Lakshya Sen and World No. 5 Anthony Sinisuka. Lakshya helped India take an early lead when he beat Sinisuka 8-21 21-17 21-16. Doubles pair Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy then beat Mohammad Ahsan and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo 18-21 23-21 21-19 to help their side multiply their lead to 2-0. Kidambi then won his set against Christie to register the historic win for India.