‘Years of exhausting work’ pays off as India revels in badminton glory

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New Delhi (AFP) – India’s badminton workforce hit new heights final week with their maiden Thomas Cup victory in Bangkok, even managing to maintain cricket within the shade leaving former gamers assured the game can “construct on this success”.

The lads’s workforce beat giants of the game Malaysia, Denmark after which 14-time winners Indonesia to win badminton’s equal to the Davis Cup in tennis.

Workforce supervisor Vimal Kumar hailed the victory because the “greatest achievement” for a rustic whose uncommon prime males’s match successes previously had included All England Open Championship wins for Prakash Padukone in 1980 and Pullela Gopichand in 2001.

Kumar, a former participant who as soon as gained a workforce Asian Video games bronze, mentioned he all the time foresaw good issues for Indian badminton as gamers started to return by way of.

“From 2017 when there have been three good singles gamers in Sai Praneeth, (Kidambi) Srikanth and (HS) Prannoy, I had religion in them,” Kumar informed AFP.

“However as a workforce, they could not play collectively for numerous causes.

“This win comes after years of exhausting work.”

The most recent proficient teenager to emerge is Lakshya Sen, who made heads flip when he reached the distinguished All England Open Championship last in March, shedding to Danish world quantity two and Olympic Champion Viktor Axelsen.

The 20-year-old Sen proved a key participant en path to India’s 3-0 Thomas Cup last triumph in opposition to Indonesia, together with senior singles gamers Srikanth and Prannoy, and the doubles pairing of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty.

Kumar mentioned India now wanted to construct on the workforce’s achievements and start to put the foundations for future success.

“They want to have a look at how they’ll market the game higher. Perhaps get a workforce sponsor.

‘Galvanised the entire nation’

“And with the cash (that is available in) they’ll get grassroot improvement for the subsequent line of gamers.”

The exploits of the workforce in Bangkok saved sports activities followers gripped throughout the cricket-mad nation.

“For 3 days, all of India was badminton. I feel that’s their achievement, greater than profitable the Thomas Cup they gave Indians a lot pleasure,” journalist G Rajaraman informed AFP.

Ladies’s singles gamers akin to Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu saved Indian badminton within the highlight lately by profitable Olympic medals, however the sport stands a distant third to cricket and hockey in reputation.

“Badminton is considered one of our higher sports activities when it comes to outcomes, achieved from Prakash (Padukone’s) time happening to Gopi (Pullela Gopichand) and extra just lately by way of the ladies,” mentioned Rajaraman.

“However to see them come collectively as a workforce, it galvanised the entire nation.”

Now 48 years outdated, Gopichand has been singled out for being the architect of India’s latest badminton success after he mentored Sindhu, Saina and Srikanth, who grew to become world primary briefly in April 2018.

“It is a phenomenal success,” Gopichand was quoted as saying by the Indian media.

“What our boys obtain is just unimaginable. It was my dream. I’m assured that we will construct on this success.”

The Gopichand academy — a state-of-the-art badminton facility within the south Indian metropolis of Hyderabad — has turn into synonymous with success.

“Almost each participant would have performed with Gopi or his academy during time,” mentioned Rajaraman.

“I feel that form of selfless strategy of his, the place he has received in overseas coaches even in his personal academy has helped India turn into a greater badminton nation.”

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