A dream came true on Sunday at Bangkok’s Impact Arena when the Indian men’s badminton team, considered the underdogs, defeated the tournament’s most successful side Indonesia 3-0 in a thrilling final to win the gold medal. 

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

Since 1949 when the Thomas Cup was first played, India never could win a medal. Their best performance until 2022 was a fourth-place finish way back in 1979 when Prakash Padukone was emerging as a hero in an emerging sport in India’s cricket dominated sporting spectrum.

Since then the Indian shuttlers won almost all esteemed tournaments like the All England Open, BAF World Championships and Olympic medals, but a medal at the men’s team championship always eluded them.

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Thomas Cup, also known as the World Team Championships, is a testing ground for teams to fathom their country’s strength, depth of the talent pool and progress of their male shuttlers in the sport. The tournament has always been dominated by traditional powerhouses of badminton.

Asian countries are the most successful as they are coming from the hub of the sport. While Indonesia are the most successful team with 14 titles, the only non-Asian team that clinched the Thomas Cup was Denmark in 2016. The Scandinavian country also finished runners-up on eight occasions. No other European side has ever come close to Denmark’s success rate in the tournament. The only other non-Asian side that played in the Thomas Cup final was the United States in 1952.

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The second most successful country is China which won 10 Thomas Cup titles. Malaysia, the champions of the inaugural edition in 1949, is the only other side to win the prestigious event more than once – five times.

Winning such a tournament can only be compared to India winning the cricket World Cup. On Sunday, Indian shuttlers put up an astonishing performance to thump their authority over the Indonesians from the very onset of the final. In the first tie, youngster Lakshya Sen beat Anthony Ginting 8-21, 21-17, 21-16. In the second draw, India’s top-ranked men’s doubles pairing of Satwik and Chirag 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.

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India’s Thomas Cup title clinch is a testament to their fiery form as well as the team’s depth and strength. HS Prannoy, the big beast who won two back to back deciding matches in the quarterfinal and semifinal, consistent Kidambi Srikanth, who beat Jonatan Christie in two games in the final, and doubles duo of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and promising youngster Lakshya Sen came together to take Indian men’s badminton into the realm of sport’s elites.