Press Trust of india

PM Modi hails India’s Thomas Cup champions

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New Delhi: India erupted in celebration after its maiden title triumph in the Thomas Cup badminton tournament last week. Few days after congratulating the players over telephone for their historic triumph at the prestigious tournament in Bangkok, PM Modi met in person and interacted with the badminton squad, which also included players from the women’s Uber Cup team.

“The ‘Yes, we can do it’ attitude has become the new strength in the country today. I assure you that the government will give all possible support to our players,” PM Modi said during the event where the Indian contingent for the recently concluded Thomas Cup & Uber Cup was present.

India won the Thomas Cup for the first time in the tournament’s history, defeating 14-time champions Indonesia 3-0.

Modi said that India were able to hoist their flag in the competition after decades and it was not a small achievement. He congratulated the team for their efforts and said that people earlier never cared for these tournaments, but thanks to the Thomas Cup win, the country took notice of the team and the sport of badminton.

He congratulated senior player Kidambi Srikanth for the manner in which the 29-year-old had shouldered the responsibility of spearheading the Indian challenge, specially in his final game in the championship.

“I can very proudly say that no other athlete in the world can boast about this, sir. Only we have this privilege of talking to you immediately after winning. First of all, thank you so much, sir,” Srikanth said.

“Athletes will be proud to say that we have the backing of our prime minister,” he added.

Chief national coach Pullela Gopichand said, “PM follows the players and the sport, and his thoughts connect with the players.” As far as doubles coach Mathias Boe was concerned, he said, “I have a been a player and won medals, but have never been called by my PM.” Star shuttler Lakshya Sen gifted the PM Almora’s famous ‘bal mithai’ after he expressed his interest to savour the taste of the sweets.

“The PM asked for Almora’s bal mithai and I got it for him. It is touching that he remembers small things about players,” Sen said.

“We feel very motivated whenever you meet us, interact with us. I hope I keep winning medals for India, keep meeting you, and keep getting bal mithai for you,” the youngster added.

The PM asked what is there in the soil of Haryana that it keeps producing one great player after another? Woman shuttler Unnati Hooda, who hails from Haryana, was delighted at meeting the PM.

“Sir, what motivates me is that you don’t discriminate between the medallists and non medallists,” Hooda said.

Doubles specialist Satwiksairaj Rankireddy said the players slept with their medals after the memorable title triumph last week.

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