Reaching Thomas Cup final is like India making it to cricket World Cup final in 1983: Pullela Gopichand
Indian badminton legend Pullela Gopichand has compared India reaching their maiden final in Thomas Cup 2022 to Kapil Dev-led India's maiden cricket World Cup final in 1983.
Indian shuttlers created history in Thomas Cup 2022 on Friday (May 13) as Team India defeated Denmark 3-2 in the semi-final to enter their maiden final. HS Panny defeated Rasmus Gamke in the deciding fifth and final game to power India into the final of the prestigious tournament.
It was a magnificent achievement by the shuttlers as India had never reached the final of the Thomas Cup in the tournament's 73-year-long history. India's best-ever campaign at the Thomas Cup came in the year 1979 when the Indian team featuring the likes of the legendary Prakash Padukone and Syed Modi had lost in the semi-final against Denmark
On Friday, India got off to a losing start in their semi-final against Denmark as Laskhya Sen went down against World no.1 Viktor Axelsen in straight sets. However, the pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty got their first point by defeating their opponents in the next game.
Kidambi Srikanth and HS Prannoy then registered victories in their respective matches as India won the semi-final 3-2 to storm into the summit clash. India's stunning win over Denmark sent the entire sporting fraternity buzzing as the historic achievement was hailed by one and all.
Indian badminton legend Pullela Gopichand also lauded the Indian shuttlers for their magnificent show in Thomas Cup 2022 and compared their feat of reaching the maiden final to that of Indian cricket team's maiden appearance in a World Cup final in 1983. Kapil Dev-led India had scripted history by winning the country's first-ever cricket World Cup in 1983.
“Years ago we would wonder whether we are good to even qualify for the Thomas Cup. Even if we did, we would usually be eliminated in the group stage. I remember just how much of a struggle it was.” Gopichand was quoted as saying by Sportstar.
Gopichand, who is on the second Indian to have won the prestigious All England Open, said India reaching the final of the Thomas Cup was a significant moment in the history of Indian badminton. He also praised the doubles pair of Satwik and Chirag for providing much-needed depth to the Indian side, which it lacked before.
“This is such a significant moment. The Thomas Cup is the biggest tournament in team badminton. Making the finals means you stand eye to eye with the best nations in world badminton. The magnitude of an Indian team reaching the final is what I’d imagine the team that made the cricket World Cup finals back in 1983," said Gopichand.
“You can’t do what you did without a world-class doubles pair like Satwik and Chirag. That doubles option gives a depth to the side that we didn’t always have before,” he added.
The Indian shuttlers will look to create history when they take on 14-time champions Indonesia in the final of the Thomas Cup 2022 on Sunday.