Published: 16th May 2022
#WhatTheFAQ: Thomas Cup triumph! Why is this victory extra special for Indian shuttlers?
India's win in Bangkok has people applauding our sportsmen. However, the men did not have it easy, and their achievement needs to be closely analysed and appreciated
India has etched another victory in the field of sports. The men in blue have made it big once more...but it’s not cricket this time, it is badminton. On Sunday, May 15, India lifted the Thomas Cup in Bangkok. This is the first time that India has won this prestigious trophy. And the victory came in unexpectedly.
What is this delightful victory about, and why is everyone talking about it? Let us have a quick look.
First things first, what is the Thomas Cup?
The Thomas Cup is an international badminton competition among teams representing member nations of the Badminton World Federation (BWF), which is badminton’s global governing body. It is also known as the World Men's Team Championships. It is since 1948-49 that the championships are being conducted. They were held once every three years since, but from the year 1982, they are being held once every two years.
The final phase of the tournament involves 12 competing teams, and is played concurrently with the final phase of the world women's team championships, the Uber Cup, which started in 1956–1957. Since 1984, the two cups have been held simultaneously at various stages of play.
This year, why is India’s win at the Thomas Cup considered big?
The Thomas and Uber Cups are the only team events in badminton. While the women’s team has won bronze in the Uber Cup a few times before, winning the Thomas Cup trophy is a first-of-its-kind victory for the men’s team.
The men’s team had never reached the Thomas Cup finals before. And this year, the Indian team has gone on to defeat Indonesia in the finals, which is no small feat, as Indonesia has been a 14-time champion in the tournament out of the 30 times the tournament has been conducted since 1948-49. India became the sixth nation to win the Thomas Cup, after China, Indonesia, Japan, Denmark and Malaysia.
Victory - check! Now, what are the highlights of the match?
India won the match with a 3-0 score against Indonesia.
What stood out distinctly was the shot played by Indian players Chirag Shetty and Kidambi Srikanth’s winning shot. The performances of Lakshya Sen, HS Prannoy and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy have also been greatly appreciated.
Lakshya Sen had won a match over Anthony Ginting early in the tournament to provide India with a lead score, while Kidambi Srikanth won the final match against Jonathan Christie in straight games. India was not required to play the second doubles and the third singles match to become the champions with their 3-0 score. As the team came out of the Impact Arena in Bangkok, shouts of, “Bharat Mata ki Jai!” and the beats of dhols could be heard.
How did team India manage this victory?
It has been said that the team’s spirit and belief in their abilities helped them gain the laurel over every odd. Of course, the Indian men have been scripting achievements in badminton, but Thomas Cup tops them all. It has been reported that the men have achieved this despite not having many foreign coaches to guide them and despite the fact that the sport has been suffering from funding issues in India.
What are the problems faced by Indian shuttlers?
The Badminton Association of India (BAI) has not been able to procure top-notch coaches for the Indian shuttlers from abroad. The association is also mostly dependent on government funds. Due to this, unlike the BCCI, which has its own funding and resources, the BAI has been unable to provide the best for the badminton players.
Coaches from abroad have also been reluctant to come to India and train Indian shuttlers because they know that they would be underpaid. Also, badminton as a sport itself has not reached the heights of popularity like cricket has in India, despite the fact that Indian shuttlers have been performing very well and have been winning medals in badminton championships and Olympics for the last ten years.