The one who is not aware with the world of Badminton and magnitude of Thomas Cup victory which Indian men’s team sealed for the first time after 73 years of independence speaks a volume about the direction in which Indian badminton is heading in years to come.
Thomas Cup holds the same significance in badminton which world cup holds in cricket and to talk about Thomas Cup achievements, ecosystem of Indian Badminton, future of Indian badminton & miscellaneous factor behind the evolution of badminton in detail where we had an exclusive conversation with Ex India Coach & Badminton player Mr Ajay Kanwar so let us share the details of that interview one by one in depth with Team Sportzcraazy:
Q1: What’s your first feeling when India men’s team lifted Thomas Cup for the first time?
Ajay Kanwar: See Thomas Cup is one of the biggest sports tournament in the world which holds the same pedestal like winning Davis Cup in Tennis or World Cup in cricket all I can say that dream of lifting Thomas Cup has been fulfilled for the first time and winning the marquee event and beating 16 time champion Indonesia is no mean’s feet.
You can understand the gravity of this victory as Prime Minister of our country also met with winning team members and interacted with them.
Ajay Kanwar: Thomas Cup is a team championship where best of 5 matches is played where you need to win 3 matches so in team championship is completely different event where you are required to play completely different and you need to ensure that the bonding across the side is maintained.
This is for the first time our team was balanced and our top 3 singles player were in Top 20 rankings and our doubles players- Chirag & Satwik was standout players for us in doubles and they have an ability to beat any team in the world.
There was weakness in doubles which has been solved now due to Chirag & Satwik presence and none of the teams took us lightly throughout the tournament.
So we competed against the top class teams in the world and every player stepped on to the occasion for e.g HS Pranoy who put up a commendable fight in tough situations for India.
Everybody gave their 100 percent when it was needed and subsequently it yielded best result for India in Thomas Cup 2022.
There is immense amount of hard work which has gone by for India to win Thomas Cup this year.
Q3. How will this achievement change the way Indian badminton will be looked after from nowonwards?
Ajay Kanwar: From 2009 onwards, you would see India doing very well in Badminton and the credit goes to Saina Nehwal as I travelled with her on numerous tours she started winning and started showing path to the upcoming players and badminton has now become the second most famous game in India after cricket.
You would see opportunities, number of tournaments and coverage has been increased in Badminton when it comes to our country and people have started believing in the power of badminton.
Q4. Interesting moment that you want to remember when you were professional player?
Ajay Kanwar: Last time I played for India was in the year 1991 and some big players were around when I was professional player and there was not much tournaments back then and we used to play marquee events like- All England, Malaysia super series also the assistance from government was not so much back then.
For me the best moment was when I was selected for India and represented country in doubles and mixed doubles.
Due to injuries I have to leave playing single and move to playing doubles winning a tournament in Bombay and selected for the team was one of the biggest moment for my badminton career.
Q5. Tell us your experience as coach of Indian badminton team in the past?
Ajay Kanwar: I never wanted to become a coach because I was playing and I got married to my wife who was 15 time national champion and I thought of stopping as I belong to business family but later I realized that I was only made for Badminton and during that time I was working with Oil India but later I switched to badminton again started playing for state level tournament and then my wife told me in the year 1999 to give a thought to coaching and I got a call from Pune and then my coaching career started later I started academy with Gopichand and he wanted to make this academy as one of the best academy in the north and my academy name is United shuttlers badminton academy in 2010 and it was difficult for me initially as I was working and then I had to take time for coaching and later I shifted to Yamuna Sports Complex but when Gopi became chief coach of India and later he told me to join the team and then I was part of Indian coaching setup for 6-7 years.
I gave my job and completely drive myself to become full time coach and it was a huge experience for us and also I was the coach of Delhi Dashers where I have realized that all you need to is to manage your players.
Q6. What skills a young player needs to become professional in Badminton?
Ajay Kanwar: All Kids are good there is no difference between any kid so my job is groom them when it comes to badminton so what I ensure that children should enrol for academy and enjoy themselves on the court.
Badminton is easy sport where anyone can hit shuttle and technicalities of this game will be taught by coaches and there are so many state level tournaments are happening at junior level too.
My other request for parents will be to leave kids alone just enrol them in the academy and let them flourish under the guidance of coach.
My job is to make badminton interesting for small kids and once you start the journey of hard work will continue.
Q7- You have your own academy and what is the vision of the academy?
Ajay kanwar: First of all to cover a distance in Delhi is tough task and due to immense distances most players lose their time only due to travelling.
My job is to build an inhouse academy where players should train and stay in our academy will be opened soon in Noida which will be 2,000 sitting capacity hall.
We have build several spaces for coaches and players and the place will not have only badminton but we will be teaching students too inside the academy.
It will be badminton centre focussed on game and and academics will be conduced post their training for academic part we will tying up with some schools of city.
In north we hardily have residential academy and this is the biggest reason why Prakash and Gopi academy is flourishing and along with my partner Mr Sudhanshu we will open centre soon we will be launching the website of our academy and how can you enrol in that academy we will share details with you soon.