The Badminton Association of India (BAI) handed a cash prize to the triumphant Indian contingent from the Thomas Cup in New Delhi on Monday. While Rs 1 crore was handed to the Indian team, the support staff received Rs 20 lakh.
BAI president and Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma congratulated the Indian team on this historic achievement.
BAI general secretary Sanjay Mishra, other BAI officials and chief national coach Pullela Gopichand were present on the occasion.
India stunned 14-time champions Indonesia 3-0 in the final to clinch their maiden Thomas Cup title in Bangkok, Thailand recently. The national side grabbed the Thomas Cup title for the first time in the 73-year history of the world’s most prestigious badminton men’s team championship by thrashing defending champions Indonesia.
Interaction with Prime Minister Narendra Modi boosted Indian players’ morale
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met the Thomas Cup winning contingent on Sunday. An elated Narendra Modi conversed with the Indian badminton team, reliving the memory of the historic Thomas Cup campaign where India clinched a gold medal earlier in the month of May.
The shuttlers said they were "proud that we have the backing of our Prime Minister." The morale of the entire 10-member squad was boosted after they had a meeting with PM Modi.
“I congratulate the whole team on behalf of the nation. This is no small feat," said PM Narendra Modi. “The 'Yes, we can do it' attitude has become a new strength in the country today. I assure you that the government will give all possible support to our players," he added.
Lakshya Sen, who helped India create history, said that PM Modi remembers small things about players.
“He pays attention to small, small things. He knew that Almora’s bal mithai is very famous, so he had asked me to get it. I got it for him. He also knew that my grandfather and father also used to play. These small things are very important. Such a big man is saying these things to you, so it feels very nice to talk to him,” he said.
Another hero of India's historic win, Kidambi Srikanth, said:
“PM took so much time out of his busy schedule to meet us. He called us immediately after the finals and also spoke to us and congratulated us. These kinds of things definitely help all players to do well. This is something that is unmatchable."
The 29-year-old Kidambi Srikanth, who originally hails from Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, won a crucial second men’s singles match to help India beat Indonesia in the final.
HS Prannoy was also elated with the special hour-long meeting with the PM and said it would encourage him to do better in the future.