Vimal Kumar Interview: ‘Authorities Needs to Make Sports activities Reachable to Each Indian However GST is Killing Sports activities’

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U Vimal Kumar was the hands-on supervisor of the 2022 Thomas Cup staff which scripted historical past by claiming the coveted title underneath the unsuspecting nostril of the three groups which had gained the cup earlier than – Malaysia, Denmark and 14-time champions Indonesia, who by no means knew what hit them as India prevailed over them ruthlessly 3-0.

Kumar is a two-time nationwide champion, a terrific coach and administrator who has held a number of tournaments at each degree, together with worldwide occasions. He guided Saina Nehwal to grow to be world No.1 and has a significant hand in teaching the present sensation of India. Lakshya Sen who has been underneath his watchful eyes from age of 9. He’s the Director and chief coach of Prakash Padukone badminton academy and was chief coach of India earlier than Pullela Gopichand took over. He’s an honest individual soft-spoken however isn’t afraid to talk his thoughts. He was provided to go because the coach of the staff for the Thomas Cup by the Badminton Affiliation of India (BAI) however selected to go as supervisor as he felt that the supervisor’s publish will go well with him higher.

On this chat, he tells us how the gamers formed as much as win the most important prize on this planet of badminton and in addition expresses robust views on how the Thomas cup was performed by the BWF. He additionally delves into what must be achieved quickly in India to construct up a staff to win the following championship.

What was the position of the assist workers, how did they carry out and what precisely was the position you performed?

I used to be very clear in my thoughts what everybody needed to do on the championship. However earlier than I am going additional let me inform you that in March itself at a selectors assembly I had informed everybody current that we now have a really robust and balanced staff and we should always severely consider profitable the cup. And the preparation should begin instantly. At first they thought I used to be speaking by means of my hat.

However I used to be satisfied we’ll do rather well. If you happen to take a look at the staff composition you possibly can see every of the singles gamers have been actual world-beaters and in Saisatwik/Chirag we now have a powerful and examined duo who might tackle anybody on this planet. So in each approach, you take a look at it and you’ll perceive my perspective.

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India’s Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty in Thomas Cup (AP)

So my job, and job for the assist workers was clear. This included the coach from Korea Yoo Yong Sung and Siyadath Ullah, DK Sen and naturally Mathias Boe from Denmark for doubles together with Vijaydeep and Nidhi Chowdhury. Then the physio and others like Kiran, Abdul, Sumanish and Evangeline, are actually skilled and so they saved all of the nuts and bolts of the gamers working properly. Together with engaged on HS Prannoy after he had fallen and had sprained his ankle and getting him prepared for the finals in a really brief time. We made positive that singles coaches focus on their gamers and doubles coaches did their job.

Then I informed the squad about our staff conferences that are crucial when you find yourself taking part in a staff occasion. So we met the evening earlier than the match and determined about staff composition, we met courtside to have fast discussions on the efficiency of every one. I needed to have the staff composition very early as I needed to give it to the Badminton Federation of India (BWF) a minimum of 4 hours earlier than the tie. Everybody was allowed to talk their thoughts within the conferences. And I’m actually glad to say the 2 senior gamers, [Kidambi] Srikanth and Prannoy performed mentors to the younger gamers, advising them and guiding them out of nervousness. All the pieces fell right into a routine and the squad actually jelled properly. Each member of the staff have been hungry for achievement. There was nice coordination, cooperation and camaraderie inside the squad. Nothing else mattered.

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India’s Prannoy H.S. returns a shot in Thomas Cup (AP)

Working as one, you and the squad created historical past. However there was some drawback relating to Prannoy being chosen…

Let me reply that. I do know what you’re asking. Truly, there was some criticism within the media concerning the number of Prannoy. The issue was that BAI had already introduced the choice standards. If a participant was within the high 15 of the world rankings then that participant was routinely chosen. So Lakshya and Shrikanth, the doubles pair of Saisatwik and Chirag in males and PV Sindhu have been pre-selected. However Prannoy was not an computerized choice as he was ranked 23 on the time.

However, Prannoy had been taking part in exceptionally nicely within the final three months defeating gamers within the high 20 and I urged that he needed to be within the staff come what might as. He may very well be an amazing asset to the staff. He was chosen and didn’t must play the tiring and tedious trials. We have been proved proper. Prannoy proved what a terrific shuttler he’s and sure, the staff spirit was nice. All of us labored as a staff on a regular basis. We labored to assist one another on a regular basis and labored as a cohesive group with one purpose solely – To win the Thomas Cup.

How did the staff react to the loss in opposition to Chinese language Taipei?

You realize the loss didn’t hassle because the gamers fought again no matter they felt instantly. We had a hearty chortle on the courtside assembly. We have been within the quarterfinals and we needed to shrug off this defeat and focus on whom we performed after a someday relaxation. Nothing was misplaced and after we got here to know that we had drawn Malaysia in our quarter-finals we have been pleased. However take a look at destiny, we gained our quarterfinals, whereas Chinese language Taipei misplaced of their quarterfinals in opposition to Malaysia

Barring the primary singles the place Lee Zhi Jia, the previous all England champion, was going to play in opposition to Lakshya who was nonetheless scuffling with the meals poisoning situation we knew we had likelihood. Each Srikanth and Prannoy stated they have been assured about their matches and Saisatwik and Chirag additionally stated they’ll have likelihood to win their match. We had shrugged of that defeat in opposition to the Taipei staff. The gamers pushed themselves to the restrict in opposition to Malaysia and we gained. The remainder is historical past as they are saying.

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India’s staff members maintain the trophy after profitable the Thomas Cup (AP)

Do you are feeling this present system of getting all 16 groups in a single venue to play the Thomas Cup and Uber Cup in 8 days is best or we should always undertake one thing new?

Good query. I’ve a powerful feeling about this. Did you see each Thomas cup semis have been performed on adjoining courts? The spectators have been confused about which match to observe. The Thomas and the Uber schedule was actually cramped. The BWF needed the whole lot over in underneath 8 days. I believe we should always convey out a system just like the Davis Cup in tennis.

Matches must be held in nations on a toss of a coin or one thing. Pre 1982 that was the system in the event you bear in mind. You performed in 1979 when the previous system nonetheless prevailed. We performed Sri Lanka in India and have been to go to Pakistan for subsequent spherical, however they backed out and we performed the Asian zone finals in Kuala Lumpur in opposition to Malaysia. This form of system will create extra recognition for the game as followers will again their dwelling staff. There might be extra media protection. The Thomas Cup might final for a few months, nonetheless, the designated weekends will be reserved for inter-country matches by the BWF. This will sound revolutionary however I’m considering {that a} drastic change is required.

What must be achieved in India to make sure a grand legacy for this enormous achievement? How will we construct upon this?

Effectively, first money in on this Thomas cup victory. Carry the sport to the general public. Allow us to carry the cup in an open jeep in huge cities the place badminton is absolutely fashionable like Bangalore, Hyderabad, Guwahati, Mumbai or Pune and perhaps Chandigarh. Truly, begin from Pune the place fashionable badminton was born. This might be symbolic. This can guarantee persevering with limelight, and deal with the game.

And we should revive the system of taking part in check matches in Thomas Cup format in opposition to groups from, let’s say – Thailand, Denmark, Malaysia and so on. on a reciprocal foundation. It may be for underneath 17 firstly, adopted by underneath 19. These matches should be held within the smaller cities. Extra expertise within the nation might be interested in the game. Furthermore, this can give good publicity to the kids. And lastly I would like the Indian badminton league (IBL) to be revived. It was an amazing supply of publicity given to our juniors and younger gamers. They noticed world-beaters from shut proximity, performed with them, travelled with them and learnt rather a lot. This actually helped us. And we received our doubles top-class coach Boe Mathias from the league. So these are some factors and points that BAI can look into.

How can we make sure that this victory is just not a flash within the pan?

By constructing the following era of gamers from now solely. Good teaching and publicity ought to begin now solely. However aside from this I’ve a query and a suggestion for the federal government. Why there may be a lot GST on sports activities items, on sports activities actions? On one hand the federal government desires to make sports activities reachable to each Indian, however on the opposite the GST is killing sports activities. Making sports activities teaching, gear out of the attain of many. In reality O want GST shouldn’t be charged on sports activities actions. The Govt. might lose perhaps 150 to 200 crores however personally, it’s pittance for a rustic like India. Govt should take a look at this side.

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