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We Practiced As A Team, We Won As A Team: Kidambi Srikanth On Thomas Cup Win

In what was India's first-ever appearance in the tournament finale, India 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.

New Delhi: The Indian badminton team created history on Sunday as they lifted the Thomas Cup trophy for the very first time. World Championship silver medalist Kidambi Srikanth, 29, who won the third rubber against world No 9 Jonatan Christie 21-15, 23-21 to grab the maiden title for India, said the victory was possible as the players worked as a team. 

In an Interview to India Ahead’s Indranil Basu, Srikanth said, “Going into the tournament, because it is a team event, all of us decided that we will travel, we will do everything as a team. We will have to bond together and that is the only way to perform in team events and we did breakfast, lunch, dinner, everything together as a team, and practiced as a team. We did gym sessions as a team.” 

Srikanth further said, “We decided we will have team meetings before and after each match, and we did a lot of things as a team. And I think that is one of the biggest positives, that is one of the advantages I feel we had above other teams.”

“It feels nice to be here today and to be a part of the team that won Thomas Cup and individually for me to be able to contribute to the team’s win, it gives me great satisfaction and happiness every time you do something for the nation it gives you a lot of pride.”

On being asked if this is his best performance, Srikant said, “This will definitely be one of my best performances, that’s for sure. To win six out of six matches in such a big tournament and then help the team win the Thomas Cup, so this will definitely be one of the best tournaments in my career.”

Talking about Jonatan Christie, his opponent in the singles final, Srikant said, “It was a tough match. And when you are playing the final of Thomas Cup, you expect yourself to play tough matches. Also, the fact that I lost to him the last time I played him and I was more focused and more prepared and I really wanted to do well and I really wanted to win.”

“Everyone really supported me alot, everyone from the dugout definitely supported me alot and you can even see how everyone ran towards the court and everyone jumped on me. It shows how all of us really wanted this win,” he said.

Talking about his mindset leading to the final, Srikant said, “It was normal, it was just like any other day. I always love to keep things very simple so for me it was like playing another match. I don’t really think too much about it. I just woke up how I normally do, went for breakfast, the way I normally do.”

In what was India’s first-ever appearance in the tournament finale, India 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.

No Indian team has previously reached the final of the Thomas and Uber Cup in its 70-plus year history. 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.

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.

(With ANI Inputs)

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