Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday felicitated Indian men’s shuttlers and coach for their spectacular 2022 Thomas Cup victory.
India won this coveted cup for the first time in the history of the Thomas cup championship since it started in 1948-49. Apart from hockey and cricket, this is only the third sporting event where India became world champion in a team event.
Chief National coach Pullela Gopichand, players Kidambi Srikanth, Dhruv Kapila, Pronoy HS, Priyanshu Rajawat, Vishnuvardhan Goud, GK Prasad, Arjun MR, Chirag Chandra Sekhar Shetty and Rakkireddy Satwik Sairaj were felicitated at a special function organized at Lok Seva Bhawan convention center.
Patnaik honoured Gopichand with a shawl and memento. All the team players received Rs 10 lakh cash award each, shawl and a memento. The players also presented the Chief Minister with a team India jersey autographed by all the players.
Speaking on the occasion, Patnaik said that India has now become a production centre for world champions in badminton. It is the dawn of a new era of Indian domination in badminton. Across the country there is great interest among the kids and parents in badminton, he said.
Praising Team India, he said that it’s a historic achievement and a proud moment for the entire country that our boys have become World champions in a tough sport like badminton.
A decade back it was unthinkable that India would start to dominate a sport like badminton. Thanks to the dedication and commitment of coaches like Gopi Chand and support of the Badminton Association, central and state governments, India has been able to consistently perform well on the international stage in the last 10 years, he stated.
Speaking on the state’s effort to promote badminton, he said, “In Odisha also, we are investing hugely in Badminton. In partnership with Gopichand, a state-of-the-art high-performance facility will be launched in the next few months.”
“We are constructing 89 multi-purpose indoor halls across the state. These will primarily cater to the development of badminton in the state. Many champions will emerge from Odisha in the coming years,” he hoped.
The Chief Minister announced that his government is also likely to host the Odisha Open as an annual event and support more such international championships.
While every state is promoting their own sports persons, Odisha is the only state that is promoting all sportspersons across the country. Odisha is one of the pioneers in the promotion of sports now, Gopichand said in his address.
“This celebration is an inspiration for us. So, thank you Odisha for this big support,” said an elated Gopichand.