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.