Indian badminton achieved
another first when the men’s team clinched the vaunted Thomas Cup gold
in Bangkok on Sunday. In a five-match rubber, Indian shuttlers, spearheaded by
experienced Kidambi Srikanth, defeated traditional powerhouse Indonesia in
three successive matches to win the maiden gold medal.

Also Read: India beats Indonesia to win historic Thomas Cup gold

In the opening contest,
Lakshya Sen, for the first time in knockouts, won his tie when he beat Anthony
Ginting 8-21, 21-17, 21-16 to give India a 1-0 advantage. In the second match,
which was a high-intensity doubles fixture, India’s top-ranked men’s doubles
pairing of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty held their nerves and got
better off World No. 1 Mohammad Ahsan- Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo 18-21, 23-21,
21-19 to make it 2-0 against Indonesia. And then, in the third game, former
World No. 1 and World Championships silver medallist Kidambi Srikanth,
continuing his winning streak in Thomas Cup, defeated World No. 8 Jonatan
Christie 21-15, 23-21 to make it 3-0 to open his arms as celebrations began.

Earlier, in the quarterfinal
and semifinal, India defeated five-time champions Malaysia and European
powerhouse Denmark to reach their maiden final in the Thomas Cup.

Also Read: What does the maiden Thomas Cup title win mean for India?

Following India’s historic
win, emotions run high among the Indian contingent members. Chief National coach
Pullela Gopichand, the last Indian to win the All England Open in 2001, hailed
India’s victory in the team championship final as more important to Indian
badminton than the 1983 World Cup win over West Indies to Indian cricket.

“It’s huge, this victory is
huge. I think the way Lakshya started set the momentum up and, in these
championships, especially where badminton is huge, I think that pressure just
builds on. I think that the way Srikanth and Lakshya played extremely well to
build the pressure and of course Satwik and Chirag were just magical,”
Gopichand told India Today.

Also Read: Watch: Chirag Shetty goes shirtless in celebration as India win Thomas Cup gold

“I would say that in
badminton terms this is even bigger (than the 1983 World Cup win). I think
nobody would have imagined that we would win something as big as this. Especially
if you would have gone to a badminton playing nation like China and Malaysia
and say that India was going to win the Thomas Cup someday, they would have
laughed at you a few years ago. But I think that the quality of singles and the
doubles also have ensured that we have been able to do this,” he added.