New Delhi: Hailing the Indian men’s badminton team for defeating 14-time champions Indonesia, Anurag Thakur, the Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports on Sunday announced Rs one crore cash award for the team for winning the maiden Thomas Cup trophy in Thailand. No Indian team has previously reached the final of the Thomas and Uber Cup in its 70-plus year history.
In what was India’s first-ever appearance in the tournament finale, they defeated the record 14-time champions Indonesia in the Thomas Cup 2022 final at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand by 3-0 to lift the coveted trophy. Indian men reached the Thomas Cup semi-finals in 1952, 1955 and 1979 while the women’s team made it to the Uber Cup top-four in 2014 and 2016.
Anurag Thakur took to Twitter to make the announcement on Sunday. “As #TeamIndia defeats 14-time #ThomasCup Champions Indonesia ( 3-0 ) to win its Ist ever #ThomasCup2022, @IndiaSports is proud to announce a cash award of Rs 1 crore for the team in relaxation of rules to acknowledge this unparalleled feat! Congratulations Team India!!” he twisted.
India finished second in Group C behind Chinese Taipei to qualify for the knockout stage, where they came up on top against strong Malaysian and Danish teams in the quarter-finals and semifinals, respectively. Starting the tie, Lakshya Sen clinched the first point for India after defeating Anthony Ginting 8-21, 21-17, 21-16. Ginting looked fast, accurate and extremely dangerous in the opening stage, enjoying a twelve-point run, to claim the opening game 21-8 in just 17 minutes. But Lakshya Sen responded brilliantly in the second game to take the match to the decider, by winning it 21-17.
Sen completed the comeback by winning the match 8-21, 21-17, 21-16. In the second match of the tie, the Indonesian scratch pairing of Mohammad Ahsan and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo got off to the right start after winning their opening match 21-18.
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty then survived four match points to come back and snatch the win in the second game, 23-21. Indians won the deciding game to clinch the match 18-21, 23-21, 21-19. In the third match of the tie, India’s Kidambi Srikanth took the opening game against Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie 21-15 and clinched the match and final by winning the second game 23-21.
The Indian team, featuring Lakshya Sen, Kidambi Srikanth, HS Prannoy, doubles pair Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty and others, have given a good account of themselves at this year’s tournament.