"Thomas Cup win has definitely boosted our confidence" - Indian doubles shuttler Chirag Shetty ahead of Commonwealth Games

Chirag Shetty (R) and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, who won silver in the individual men’s doubles event at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, are looking to go one better in Birmingham. (Pic credits: BAI)
Chirag Shetty (R) and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, who won silver in the individual men’s doubles event at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, are looking to go one better in Birmingham. (Pic credits: BAI)

The Thomas Cup triumph earlier this year is still fresh in the minds of badminton fans. The historic feat by the Indian men’s badminton team is regarded as one of the country’s greatest sporting achievements.

Chirag Shetty was one of the chief architects of the Thomas Cup win. The men’s doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy played out of their skin to help India win all their crucial matches.

World No. 8 pair of Chirag and Satwik produced sensational performances, especially in the knockout stages of the tournament to do the job for their team. Rising to the occasion, they stunned Mohammad Ahsan and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo in the final to guide India to a famous 3-0 win over 14-time champions Indonesia.

Chirag and Satwik saved four match points in the second game to record a thrilling 18-21, 23-21, 21-19 victory against the Indonesians in a match that lasted for an hour and 13 minutes. Chirag's crazy celebrations after winning the final point were one of the most magical moments for Indian badminton fans.

After the Thomas Cup success, there will be more expectations from the Chirag-Satwik pair as India aim to retain their title in the mixed team event of the Commonwealth Games (CWG).

The 22nd edition of the Commonwealth Games is scheduled to be held in Birmingham, England, from July 28 to August 8, 2022.

The 25-year-old Chirag is determined to continue his stellar form in Birmingham. The Mumbai-based six-foot-one-inch tall shuttler is aiming to better their performance this year.

The 2018 Commonwealth Games was a huge success for Chirag and Satwik. The Indian pair not only guided India to a historic gold medal in the mixed team championships but also won a silver medal in the individual men’s doubles event.

See the Commonwealth Games 2022 medal tally here.

After the Thomas Cup, Chirag and Satwik played only one tournament, the Malaysia Open. They have skipped a couple of tournaments to regain their full fitness.

The duo are focusing on CWG as they prepare hard at the ongoing preparatory national camp in Hyderabad. Specialist doubles coach Mathias Boe has been guiding the Indian doubles players and ironing out whatever little flaws they have in the ongoing camp.

Ahead of the Games, Chirag spoke exclusively to Sportskeeda on Thursday. Here are some of the excerpts:

Q: With less than a month to go for CWG, how do you assess your preparations?

A: Well personally we’re raring to go for CWG. It’s one of the biggest tournaments of the year and the preparations thus have been going well. We will be practicing for 3-4 weeks before we leave for the Games.

Q: Doubles are very important in mixed team events like the Commonwealth Games. Are you and Satwik more confident now after your heroics in the historic Thomas Cup triumph?

A: Yes. Doubles are equally important in team events, but in a mixed team format, it’s even more important because we will be having three doubles matches. So to stand a good chance of repeating our 2018 triumph, we need to be strong in all the three doubles disciplines. And yes, the Thomas Cup win has definitely boosted our confidence.

Q: How do you rate your chances at CWG in the individual event?

A: Well, we obviously want to do better than we did last time. And that will definitely be our target. There’ll be stiff competition this time around too, but if we’re able to stay calm and play to our strengths, we can definitely achieve our target.

Q: India upset the formidable Malaysia in the last edition at the Gold Coast CWG to win the gold medal. Do you think India can retain the team championship title?

A: Yes, India definitely has the firepower to repeat the success. And that will surely be our target.

Q: You have represented the country in all the major multi-sporting events, including the Olympics. Please share your thoughts on this edition of CWG.

A: Well CWG is the first multi-sporting event I was part of in 2018. So for me, it surely brings a lot of good memories. So this edition, too, will be no different and I hope to go out there and perform to the best of my abilities.

Q: You had a memorable Commonwealth Games in Australia by excelling in team events as well as in the individuals. You must be eager to repeat that feat?

A: Yes, like I said, it was my first big multi-sporting event. I hope to repeat the success of the last edition and hope to do one better than the previous time in the individual event.

Q: Specialist doubles coach Mathias Boe of Denmark will be a great help for you. Boe guided you well during the Tokyo Olympics last year. Is his reappointment a big boost for you?

A: Yes, definitely it’s always been extremely helpful to have him around for our training sessions. He’s an excellent reader of the game as he himself has been one of the best doubles players of all time. So having him sit behind us during matches surely motivates us a lot.

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Edited by Sudeshna Banerjee
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