Star shuttlers Sania Nehwal, PV Sindhu and K Srikanth today thanked the government for its continued support and said India can dominate the sport for a long time like China, Japan and Korea if they can keep believing in themselves.
The trio were speaking during a felicitation function organised by Sports Minister Vijay Goel at his residence here after Indian shuttlers returned with two medals, Sindhu's silver and Saina's bronze from the just-concluded World Badminton Championships in Glasgow.
"We would like to thank the government and the Sports Minister for their continued support throughout the year. Sports is becoming quite popular in our country because of the encouragement from the government," Saina said.
"The facilities have improved and we shuttlers need to believe in ourselves. If that happens we can come stronger and rule the sport like China, Japan and Korea," she added.
Sindhu, who won her second World Championships medal in Glasgow, said the future of Indian badminton is in good hands.
"Badminton in India as a sport has grown many folds. Many upcoming and bright players are coming up," said Sindhu, who lost the marathon title encounter 19-21 22-20 20-22 against Nozomi Okuhara of Japan.
"The World Championships final is one of the longest matches I have ever played. At 20-20 in the last game it was anybody's game but in the end, it was not my day," she said talking about the epic final.
Kidambi Srikanth, who had lost in the quarterfinals at Glasgow, said what is important for a sportsperson is to get recognition and that is what they are getting right now.
The felicitation ceremony was initially planned at a makeshift tent in the lawns of Goel's residence but it was later shifted to one of the rooms inside his residence because of the continuous downpour just before the start of the programme.
What followed was pandemonium as Goel and his staffs found it difficult to control the large gathering of media persons, photographers and camera persons inside the small room.
Besides the badminton stars, also present on the occasion were chief national coach Pullela Gopichand and Saina's personal coach Vimal Kumar.