Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Uber Cup, here we come

This year, the Thomas and Uber Cup tournaments are being held in India. These are the men's and women's world championships in badminton. Badminton is one of the most exciting of sports to watch, even if you do not know much about it. Watching a major badminton tournament in Jakarta, the spiritual home of badminton, surely has to be one of the best sporting experiences anybody can have. Even the sport challenged Sriram's BP would shoot up !

India is world class in this sport, one of the few sports in which it is truly at the world level. The men's team is good, but not really in the top league. Its a different matter with the women however. With the meteoric rise of Sindhu, India has two players in the world top ten and on their day either can beat anybody in the world.

The first three days of the tournament have been on expected lines. The men's team fought well, but will not progress beyond the group stage. The women's team has won its group - they beat Thailand in a famous match last night, with Saina beating the reigning world champion. India had the swagger of a world beater yesterday. The quarter finals now beckon.

I had last blogged about Indian badminton two years ago here. It was then that Sindhu was arriving . I wrote then - " In two years time, the prospect of Saina and Sindhu representing India in the Uber Cup makes you want to drool in anticipation". That day has come.

The only "unbeatable" team is of course China. If you have the current World No 1, 2 and 3 in your team, it becomes a trifle difficult for anybody else to win. But India is right up there with everybody else, and on today's form and with home advantage, a China - India final is on the cards. 

The only pity is that it is being played in Delhi, a sports ignorant city if there was one. Crowds have been sparse (can you believe it), although those who come, try their best to be as vociferous as possible in rooting for India. If only it had been held in Bangalore or Hyderabad .....  We would have brought the roof down. Imagine a China - India final in a houseful Bangalore or Hyderabad stadium. We would have carried Saina, Sindhu, Jwala, Ashwini, Thulasi, Pradnya and Siki on our shoulders. The sheer decibel level might have even seen our girls through.

Forget the IPL. Tune in to Star Sports, all you sport lovers. Go bonkers for our girls. Uber Cup, here we come.


Saket Bhartia said...

I was at the Mumbai airport last evening and was watching Saina's match on one of the TV's. It was surprising that I was the ONLY one watching this and others passing by were looking at me strangely. So is the awareness of sport (other than cricket)

Ramesh said...

@Saket - That's the real tragedy of India. Very few even know that the Thomas & Uber cups are being played in India now. Hurray to you for watching :)

Prats said...

Would have loved to watch this had this been in Bangalore... These games often ignored by the people are such a treat to watch.
I went to the Davis Cup when Leander & Sanam Singh were playing in Bangalore last year, it was such a treat to watch a game live which is not cricket (Not that I have anything against cricket, but hate the commercialization which has happened around it)

Ramesh said...

@Prats - Leaner Paes has changed much now, but in his younger days he was the sportsman to emulate. He was an average player, but whenever he donned the India shirt in Davis Cup or the Olympics, he did extraordinary things. He would beat players he had no business in beating. It was a popular saying in those days when the Indian cricket team played with no passion - Leander should be made the eleventh player irrespective of whether he could hold a bat or not; he would make India win simply by passion.

Ramesh said...

What a day. The girls go marching on, but it was so so close. Three matches to nil against Indonesia, but Sindhu's match was a nail biter. 25-23 in the final game in a match she had to win. So mature for her age - she's not yet 20. Phew.

Japan beckons.

Sandhya Sriram said...

Ye Ye - our girls are in the semis. only the share of page within times of india was interesting, all sorts of analysis - paralysis on IPL and one small inset on Tennis

Sandhya Sriram said...

sorry, this is how much gyan soonyam the country is - i just called the game Tennis !!! was watching too much tennis last week i guess

Ramesh said...

@Sandhya - Welcome back. Indian tennis is in real doldrums. Badminton is soaring. Watch today's game against Japan - it may be close.

Ramesh said...

Well tried girls. India lost to Japan 2-3 in a pulsating encounter lasting over 5 hours. Saina and Sindhu won to put India 2 up. Saina strolled, but Sindhu served another heart stopper - 26-24 in the final game. Girl, you made me age a decade today ! But then India's weakness in the doubles ultimately meant the prize of the final against China was just out of the grasp.

Well done girls. You made us proud. And the crowd in Delhi made up for past "sins" with scintillating cheering today - complete with drums and an unbelievable cacophony. Without you , Sindhu would not have won either yesterday or today. Go home with your heads high, for our girls played outstandingly.

I suspect there will be dozen spectators for the finals on Saturday and Sunday. It will be like a pricked balloon alas.

Shachi said...

Read this post only today and missed out on watching :( :( :( :(!

Well done S n S - you have made India proud.

A personal tidbit - badminton is my dad's favorite sport and he played in college, so naturally he taught me how to play. I played at the state level one year (representing my school, Mount Carmel - and sadly, I have no pictures or anything to remind me of it) and then I was supposed to go for training camps n such....which was when my parents pulled me out as they did not think it was safe to send a girl by herself. I really wish I had more opportunities to play sports while growing up. I learnt how to play tennis, Racquetball, swimming (knew the basics back home but refined it here), everything else here in the states. Our one-sided focus on academics is so frustrating.

The daughter will start soccer soon - can't wait :D!

Ramesh said...

@Shachi - Hey; I didn't know you are a badminton player too. Is there anything you cannot do :)

Now, I have to come to Folsom to play a game or two with you :)

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