India has qualified for the Thomas Cup final for the first time and meets Indonesia.
Through: Israr Itah, journalist at Republika.co.id
REPUBLIC.CO.ID, Eight years ago, a new badminton record was set in New Delhi, India. For the first time in history, Japan won the Thomas Cup. The Land of the Rising Sun took home the championship trophy at the first opportunity to qualify for the finals of the world’s most prestigious interstate team championship. In the final, Japan beat Malaysia with two wins in singles and one in doubles.
Two years later, in Kunshan, China, it was Denmark’s turn to make history. Denmark broke eggs after winning the last eight times in the final, finishing only second. The Vikings defeated Indonesia 3-2 in the final.
Japan and Denmark are in the group of five countries that have won the Thomas Cup. Since it was first held in 1949 until 2012, only Malaysia, Indonesia and China have won alternately. Japan and Denmark then broke dominance as world power in badminton became ever more evenly distributed.
Now the next story has a chance to be written in this issue Thomas Cup 2022, which will be held at Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand. For the first time at the Thomas Cup, India has qualified for the final. Country Bollywood started the move with 5-0 victories over both Germany and Canada and a 3-2 loss to Chinese Taipei. India finished second in Group C and met Group D winners Malaysia in the quarter-finals. Lakhsya Sen and his colleagues defeated Malaysia 3-2 and advanced to the semi-finals.
Among the top four, India so outsider because against a strong Danish team, which was reinforced by the world number one Viktor Axelsen. However, India managed to overturn the prediction by beating Denmark 3-2 to face Indonesia in the final.
Domestically, India’s optimism about being able to perform at its best has actually surfaced ahead of the Thomas Cup reels. Because for the first time in history, India is believed to have a number of quality men’s singles players that can compete with players from other elite countries.
India currently has Lakshya Sen in 9th place in the BWF, Kidambi Srikanth in 11th place and HS Prannoy in 23rd place. Only two of the three can score points, India’s chances of winning are open. Because there is a double number eight BWF Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Chirag Shetty to count on for points.
The performance of the Indian individual players can be described as relatively stable before the Thomas Cup. Likewise with Rankireddy/Shetty. This is their capital to be able to advance to the final.
We also know that in a team match like the Thomas Cup, placement doesn’t necessarily affect the final result. However, hard work and determination not to lose are key. India has shown that by getting rid of the seeds.
In the last three meetings, when they lost to Chinese Taipei in the group stage and eliminated Malaysia and Denmark, Lakshya Sen, top of the table, has never contributed points. It was Srikanth and Prannoy who kept winning to lead India to victory. Rankireddy/Shetty got another point. In doubles, Krishna Prasad Garaga/Vishnuvardhan Goud Panjala failed to win three times.
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