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India beat Indonesia 3-0 to lift Maiden Thomas Cup trophy, victory will motivate many sportsmen: Pm Modi

Delivering a performance for the ages, Indian men’s badminton clinched the Thomas Cup title with a 3-0 win over mighty Indonesia on Sunday, a historic triumph that will cement the country’s status in the sport. World Championship medalist Lakshya Sen, Kidambi Srikanth and doubles players Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy delivered when it mattered most as they stunned the 14-time champions with a dominating show.

An incredible week ended appropriately for Indian badminton as the country had never risen to the top of the world’s most prestigious team event before. After being discolored in the round of 16, youngster Sen gave India a 1-0 lead with an 8-21 21-17 21-16 win from behind over world number five Anthony Sinisuka Ginting in a stunning demonstration of temperament and competence.

The country’s best doubles pair, Rankireddy and Shetty, then showed nerves of steel as they saved four match points in the second game to eventually outsmart Mohammad Ahsan and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo 18-21 23-21 21-19. In the second single, Srikanth outscored Asian Games gold medalist Jonatan Christie 21-15 23-21 in 48 minutes to seal the historic victory. Sen gave a terrific display of his mental toughness as he recovered from the opening game reversal to outsmart his top-ranked opponent. It was his second win in as many career meetings against Ginting.

The match was fast paced with both players producing oblique returns in the rallies to put each other in awkward positions. At the break, Ginting led 11-7 and it was one-way traffic after the Indonesian easily pulled away with the opener. After the switch, Lakshya played better and led 7-4 before entering the break with a four-point lead. Ginting mounted his attack to cut the lead to 11-12 but Sen kept a grip on the rallies and grabbed five game points and took the game to the decider.

Sen continued to engage his rival in rallies but Ginting relied on his precision to make it 5-1. The Indian showed great temper as he slowly scripted a comeback, cutting the lead to 6-8. Ginting managed to establish an 11-7 lead at the break with Sen in net.

Back on the better side of the pitch, Sen started to dominate the rallies as Ginting missed the lines twice, allowing the Indian to recover at 12-12 with a cross smash after a long rally. Sen slowly retired with a flurry of points to make it 18-14.

A quick return of serve from Sen and a shot wide from Ginting took the Indian to four match points and he converted with another tight net shot, which kissed the boards and went down. Sen fell flat on the ground in disbelief.

It was then the turn of Satwik and Chirag to take possession of the stage and they showed their tenacity against Ahsan and Sukamuljo. After narrowly losing the first match, India came back strong in the second and won the game after saving three match points.

In the third game, India tried to lift high and use the ground. It worked as they were leading 11-9 at the break in game three. After a close battle it became 16-16. India showed better nerves and won a crucial video reference. Satwik fired a spike and once Sukamulyo went to the net it was a two match point advantage for India.

Indonesia saved one but there was more drama in store as Satwik was then shown a yellow card for being late to prepare for a serve. But Chirag produced a crossover smash to close the contest and let out a roar as India led 2-0. In the second single, Srikanth played a measured game, keeping rallies short and hitting every time the shuttle was within his striking range. It worked as his precise shots down both flanks earned him points.

Srikanth led 8-3 but committed too many unforced errors, allowing Christie to tie the game at 15-15. The Indian kept things under control though, going 20-16 and sealing it when Christie went to net. The second game was no different but Srikanth managed a three-point advantage at the break. After the break, Christie turned it around with a six-point flurry 10-13 to jump to take a three-point pad. However, a few errors from Christie and Srikanth tied the game at 18-18.

Another thrilling rally ended with a jump smash as Srikanth was two points away from victory. However, Chirstie was the first to move towards the play ball when the shuttlecock deflected off the net. Srikanth managed to save one but Christie again moved towards the play ball with a quick reflex. Srikanth then grabbed a championship point with a smash and sealed it with another high jump smash. The Indian turned to his teammates, punching his fist in the air and the whole team ran across the pitch jumping for joy.

Hailing the Indian men’s badminton team for winning the Thomas Cup for the first time, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday that they had made history and their victory would motivate many sportsmen to come. India’s men’s team etched their name in the history books as they clinched the title with a dominating 3-0 victory over 14-time champions Indonesia in the final in Bangkok on Sunday.

Modi tweeted: “The Indian badminton team has made history! The whole nation is delighted that India won the Thomas Cup! Congratulations to our accomplished team and best wishes to them for their future endeavours. This victory will motivate so many athletes to come.”

First post: STI


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