By Vivek Prabhakar SinghBangkok [Thailand], May 16 (ANI): The Indian team scripted history by winning the first-ever Thomas Cup crown ever since its inception in 1949. In the final match, India registered a hard-fought yet convincing win against 14-time champions Indonesia.
"The intent was perfectly from all three when they started off. Someone like Lakshya, I think it was incredible to step up and when things are not working for him well in this tournament. He had a few losses in the games and he stepped up at the right moment and went on to get the title for us especially others Satwik and Chirag did a great job from both of them," said HS Prannoy while speaking to ANI.
"When it comes to the final, we knew that numbers do not matter 14 times champions. All those numbers do not matter. It is how you project yourself on a particular day and it was like 'Aaj nahi choddna hai' and in the last team huddle also, we said the same and 'Jeet ke hi Jana hai' and the amount of energy everyone had. All 10 of us have never seen that in our entire life and it gives goosebumps every time, " he further said.
Not only did India win this title for the first time they also became only the sixth team to do so. For all the players, this was a special win as it was a team event, before this their achievements have mostly been at the individual level.
"It is unreal I would say because we never had experienced something like this before. We all had individual performances out there but something to do together gives immense satisfaction and we are the world champions. I think the cup will be in Delhi for two years. Yes you can sometimes come to our association and keep looking at it, " said Prannoy.
Prannoy played a crucial role in taking India to the semi-final and then to the final. In the quarter-final, he defeated Leong Jun Hao of Malaysia 21-13, 21-8 when the score was tied at 2-2 to assure India a maiden medal in the tournament. In the semi-finals, Prannoy took on a higher-ranked Rasmus Gemke of Denmark and despite losing the first game and suffering an injury, the Indian shuttler pushed through the pain barrier to emerge victorious 13-21, 21-9, 21-12 with scores tied at 2-2 to seal India's place in the final.
"The quarter-final was a much more pressure match I would say because there was always a saying that we do not have a medal in Thomas Cup and this is a chance and you know this is just what you do in that situation and pressure was immense. The first game started also badly as I was down in the first game 7-1 or 7-2 then once I found the rhythm and after that, I was good to go the same thing happened with Gemke also. The first game was bad could not get the flow and in the second game, I was much more focused. Much more concentrated on the game rather than anything else and yes there was so much in the mind saying that this win is much needed because we need to get this title and we need to get the medal because we need to change the thinking that men's team can't win a medal in-game event. It was much needed and since last few years nobody counted on us whenever we used to go for the events and that used to be sad," said Prannoy.
"We always used to think that we need to perform once and for all. I think this was the time when we all stepped up for the nation and win it for the next generation saying that you guys can do it if we can do it then you guys can do it. That kind of feeling and inspiration we wanted to create and everybody stepped up in the right moment to create a feeling and that kind of inspiration we wanted to create and everybody stepped at the right moment to create such kind of an impression," he added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the Indian team after it clinched the Thomas Cup and appreciated their effort. For all the Indian players the words of appreciation from the PM were special.
"Very special! We did not expect that to happen but very special for all of us because he knew every one of us by name and knew what we did. I think that was just extraordinary to listen to and thanks for all his support over the years. Sports has been given good support in the last few years and I hope we can get more medals for the country and make everyone proud and make him also proud, " said Prannoy. (ANI)