India unfazed by pressure to defend Thomas Cup title

CHENGDU: The Indian badminton team remained undaunted by the pressure of defending the Thomas Cup title, with players determined to emerge as champions once more here in China.

With memories of their historic triumph of clinching the maiden Thomas Cup title in Bangkok two years ago still fresh on their mind, India's top men's doubles player, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy said his teammates are all 'pumped up' to take on the world again.

"Everyone is so pumped up and taking this competition seriously. There are no pressure (defending Thomas Cup).

"We take it as a challenge, want to do well and enjoy everything here. I believe we are getting back that rhythm (Thomas Cup 2022) and we can do something big here again," he told reporters at the mixed zone, here, yesterday (April 29).

Satwiksairaj and partner Chirag Shetty had earlier delivered the second point for India against England in a rubber set win against Ben Lane-Sean Vendy, 21-17, 19-21, 21-15 in a Group C match at the Chengdu High-Tech Zone Sports Centre.

India then went on to win the tie 5-0 and earned a quarter-finals berth.

India stunned 14-time champion, Indonesia, 3-0, to claim the trophy in the final of the last edition held in Impact Arena, Bangkok.

Meanwhile, their men's singles shuttler, H.S. Prannoy will put the pressure aside and urged his teammates to put their heart and soul into ensuring the Thomas Cup remained home.

"Obviously there are a lot of eyes on us since the last time (2022 triumph). There are a lot of tough teams out there and it's going to be tougher for us in the next few days," he said.

Prannoy handed India the first point against England as he subdued Harry Huang, 21-15, 21-15.

India, who opened their campaign with a 4-1 victory over Thailand last Saturday, will involve in the repeat of last edition final against Indonesia this Wednesday to determine the Group C champion.

Thomas Cup 2024 will end on May 5.

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