Badminton News: India’s shock Thomas Cup victory has given its badminton rulers a chance to change the profile of the game in a cricket-mad nation and they are determined not to waste it.
India shook up the badminton world last month with a 3-0 win over defending Thomas Cup champions Indonesia in the final of the prestigious Men’s Tag Team Championships in Bangkok.
The Impact Arena is the perfect venue for India, playing in their first final, to upset 14-time champions Indonesia to become the only sixth nation to lift the coveted trophy.
Editorials were written, cash rewards were announced and Prime Minister Narendra Modi presided over tributes to players Lakshya Sen, Kidambi Srikanth, HS Prannoy, Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy.
“Not many people in India know about the Thomas Cup, and overnight the players have become big names,” Badminton Association of India (BAI) secretary Sanjay Mishra told Reuters.
“Our effort is to create that euphoria. Our Prime Minister said there should be five times as many badminton players in this country.”
Many believe that a Thomas Cup victory could have an effect on badminton, much like the 1983 Cricket World Cup victory for India.
Mishra sees this as just hope.
While the National Sports Authority took care of training and travel, BAI recruited 30 coaches and built half a dozen new training centers across the country.
“Winning the Thomas Cup was a dream come true, but now we begin the even more difficult task of maintaining this level,” said Mishra.
“We are preparing the next batch of players who will be ready to replace the current crop in the next two years.”
“BAI has also received approval from the Badminton World Federation (BWF) to host two international Challenge tournaments,” Mishra said.
Badminton has led India to Olympic medals at the last three Olympics, two of them thanks to PV Sindhu, who also won gold at the World Championships in 2019.
“We’ve been successful on an individual level, but winning the men’s tag team title is huge,” Tuhin Mishra, chief executive of talent management firm Baseline Ventures, told Reuters.
“Sindhu has done well over the past five years, but we’ve also seen a big increase in men’s badminton lately.”
The baselines depict, among others, Sindhu and four of the five players on this Thomas Cup squad.
“The media spotlight, the praise from the prime minister and his cabinet, the tweets from Bollywood stars and cricketers – this is the boost badminton needs,” said Tuhin Mishra.
At least four brands have caught up with Lakshya Sen, who won a bronze medal at the World Championships last year and reached the final of this year’s All England Open, he said.
“It will inspire a new generation of players. BAI have done a great job so far and they need to ensure a supply of talented players who can play at this level.”
Tags Articles: bay, India, Thomas Cup 2022, cricket
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