"Cannot Get Bigger": Pullela Gopichand To NDTV On India Winning Thomas Cup Gold
Former badminton star Pullela Gopichand hailed India winning gold in the Thomas Cup as a big moment for Indian sports and the country in general.
The Indian men's badminton team on Sunday scripted history by winning the gold medal at the Thomas Cup for the first time. India beat 14-time champions and holders Indonesia 3-0 in the final, with Lakshya Sen and Satwiksairaj Rankiredd-Chirag Shetty pulling off come-from-behind wins and Kidambi Srikanth sealing the gold medal in style with a straight-games win. Former badminton star Pullela Gopichand, while speaking to NDTV, hailed the win as a "great moment for India and Indian sports."
"I think this a great moment for India and Indian sports. India winning the Thomas Cup is not just big for India but for badminton world," Gopichand told NDTV.
"The women have definitely done well for us but for the entire (men's) team coming together to do well and win the Thomas Cup is really wonderful to see," he said.
Speaking about the magnitude of the win, he said: "It cannot get bigger than this. For us to have a young team and do well and go out and just win is very, very big."
"I think the doubles win was incredible. They had lost to the Indonesian pair several times so to shake that off and win was big. Not to take anything away from Lakshya as he played really well," he said when asked which of the three wins on Sunday was the toughest.
"The depth of the team really helps. Lakshya playing the first singles and losing still allows a chance as the likes of Kidambi and Prannoy were still there," he said.
"For us the Asia Games should be the next target. As team India the CWG will be another big target. Hopefully we will be able to achieve a lot of other firsts," he said, speaking about what Indian badminton should be aiming for next.
Former badminton player Trupti Murgunde, who won the bronze medal for India in the mixed team event at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, hailed the win as "unbelievable".
"What a joyous moment. It is unbelievable. Making the final was great and now we have Thomas Cup in our hands," she told NDTV.
"Everybody was glued to the TV it was like the final of a World Cup cricket match," she exclaimed.
"All three games were close. Lakshya showed great guts because the first match is always important. The doubles team came back after losing the first game and came back from a deficit in the second game and then converted it in the third, that gave a lot of confidence to Kidambi who was playing the third game," she said, while speaking about the final.
She spoke further about Lakshya Sen, who came back from losing his first game 8-21 to register a crucial win in the opening match for India, helping the team get off to a strong start that they later capitalised on.
"The tactical changes that Lakshya did after losing the first game and the way he made the changes and got his confidence back was great. It is easy to speak for us sitting out but for the player to are the changes at a crucial time is amazing. A lot of credit to him," she said.