Indian Men's Badminton team marked a momentous victory over last year's bronze-medalist Denmark in the semi-finals of the Thomas Cup on May 14, 2022, in Bangkok, Thailand. They entered the finals for the first time, assuring a silver medal in the tournament.
Since 1979, India has not won a single medal until the Indian team, consisting of World Championship silver medalist Kidambi Srikanth, HS Prannoy, and eighth-ranked duo Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty entered the semi-finals, winning against Malaysia on Friday.
Origin Of The Tournament
Named after Sir George Thomas, Founder-President of the International Badminton Federation (BWF), the Thomas Cup tournament was proposed by him in 1939; however, after World War II erupted, the plan got postponed.
Starting Thomas Cup was to emulate the Davis Cup tournament in Lawn Tennis, where countries played against each other rather than individual players, as tennis was not considered a team sport.
With Thomas Cup, Sir Thomas aimed to create teams among badminton players like it happens in Davis Cup. Finally, after the World War ended, the Thomas Cup championship was planned for 1948-49.
Countries Participate As Teams
All the badminton playing nations were categorised into Asian, Australian, Pan-American, and European. The tournament was held every three years, but post-1984, it was conducted every two years. The format followed included best-of-nine matches, where players would play five singles and four doubles.
The structure and rules have now evolved. Since 1984, the countries now had to play only five matches instead of nine. The first tournament was won by Malaya (now Malaysia) against Denmark by 8-1.
Establishing Asian Hegemony In Badminton
Thomas Cup became a stepping stone for South-East Asian and Eastern Asian dominance in badminton. Malaysia won the first three editions while Indonesia, from 1957, maintained a winning streak of almost a decade.
Except for Denmark in 2016, no other Non-Asian country has ever won the Thomas Cup. Noting the success of the Thomas Cup in bringing forth badminton as a popular sport, the Uber Cup, a women's version of the Thomas Cup, was started, named after England's player Betty Uber, it began in 1956-57.
With the entry of China internationally in the 1980s, China began dominating the Thomas Cup after defeating Indonesia in the finals in their debut tournament by 5-4. Indonesia leads the pack, having won 15 Thomas Cup titles, and China is second, having ten titles in its name.
Today, India will face 15-time champions Indonesia in the finals. As the underdog, it will prove to be an arduous task. Still, their performance in this year's tournament has increased badminton's popularity in India, encouraging people to recognise India's potential in various sports internationally.