Manorama's golden gift for Keralites of victorious Thomas Cup squad

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Malayala Manorama Editor Philip Mathew presenting the prize money to M R Arjun, coach U Vimalkumar and H S Pranoy, who were part of the Thomas Cup squad that won the tournament recently. PHOTO: Manorama

Kochi: The three Keralites who were part of the victorious Indian team in the Thomas Cup in Bangkok, were felicitated by Malayala Manorama here on Tuesday.

Team members H S Prannoy and M R Arjun as well as U Vimal Kumar, former international and manager of the team, were honoured for their historic triumph.

Malayala Manorama Editor Philip Mathew presented cash prizes and a gold medal each to the trio at a function held at the Malayala Manorama office in Panampilly Nagar. While Prannoy and Arjun were awarded Rs 2 lakh each, Vimal Kumar received a purse of Rs 1 lakh.

Speaking at the felicitation, Philip Mathew said Prannoy, Arjun and Vimal Kumar could etch their names in the history books by being part of one of the country's finest sporting wins.

"While the players displayed exemplary teamwork and hunger to make every opportunity count, Vimal Kumar's leadership qualities brought everyone together as a cohesive unit. Vimal was somebody who could break into the top-20 of world rankings when badminton was in its nascent stages in India. When he was included in the support staff for the team, it took everyone by surprise. However, Vimal could fulfill the faith reposed on him by the team management," he said and extended his best wishes to Prannoy and Arjun in the upcoming Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and the Olympics.

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Coach U Vimalkuamr, H S Pranoy and M R Arjun with the mementos presented to them at the Kochi office of Malayala Manorama. PHOTO: Manorama

Vimal Kumar thanked Manorama for its strong and sustained support to the game. "Badminton, in recent years, has seen an unprecedented rise in popularity in India. Now, we have several players of international standards who play at the highest level. I had been part of different Indian teams in the past both as a player and a coach. However, the spirit shown by each member of this team was something I have never seen before. It was heartening to see senior players like (Kidambi) Srikanth and Prannoy motivating the younger players to punch above their weight," he said.

Prannoy and Arjun also expressed their gratitude to Manorama for the constant support extended to them. Prannoy was the champion of the inaugural Manorama Indian Open Badminton in 2014. He was also the winner of the Manorama Sports Star Award in 2017.

Malayala Manorama chief news editor R Rajeev and sports editor Sunish Thomas also spoke.

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