15 May 2022, 17:01

Ruthless India make history with first Thomas Cup crown

BANGKOK, May 15, 2022 (AFP) - India made history by winning the Thomas Cup
for the first time with a ruthless 3-0 upset of reigning champions Indonesia
in Bangkok on Sunday.

The Indian team, competing in their debut final of the men's team
championship, sealed the title when world number 11 Kidambi Srikanth defeated
Jonatan Christie 21-15, 23-21.

A devastated Indonesia, the tournament's most successful team having
previously won it 14 times, could not keep pace with the fire brought by the
Indian team -- who joyfully rushed the court following Srikanth's win.

India were already 2-0 up, with Lakshya Sen beating Anthony Ginting in the
first singles match and then Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty
defeating Mohammad Ahsan and Kevin Sukamuljo in the doubles.

It fell to Christie, an Asian Games gold medallist now in his fourth Thomas
Cup campaign, to save Indonesia's flagging title hopes.

But the eighth-ranked Christie couldn't do it and seemed overcome with nerves
at the onset of his do-or-die match against Srikanth.

The 29-year-old Srikanth took full advantage, bearing down relentlessly on
Christie in the second game.

In the first match of the tie, world number five Ginting grabbed the first
game in style over Sen, 21-8.

But he then wobbled, and with Sen growing in confidence, the Indian world
number nine won the next two games 21-17, 21-16.

"I think this one is for the team, they have been backing me throughout my
performances," the 20-year-old Sen said.

"In the closing stages I was really nervous and trying to calm myself with
deep breaths."

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the praise back home, tweeting: "The
Indian badminton team has scripted history! The entire nation is elated by
India winning the Thomas Cup!"

A subdued Ginting admitted there were things he could have improved on.

"I play in a rush today and that's why I make a lot of mistakes," he said.

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