Spectators who witnessed Denmark’s sole Thomas Cup victory in 2016 will remember an emotional Mathias Boe celebrating with his teammates after the 3-2 win over Indonesia in Kunshan, China.
As soon as Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus delivered the winning point against Ihsan Maulana Mustofa in the third singles of the showpiece tie, Boe sprinted onto the court and after a quick team huddle, applauded the supporters with tears streaming down his face.
Last Sunday in Bangkok, the 41-year-old experienced the high of winning the prestigious trophy once again, this time as part of the Indian team’s coaching set-up. The London 2012 Olympic men’s doubles silver medallist however, now six years wiser, was more composed.
“I feel just as thrilled as that time,” Boe, who as doubles coach has Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy under his watch, admitted following India’s first ever Thomas Cup win.
“I tried to use the experience of winning with Denmark. Similarly then, we didn’t have the best players but we had the best team on and off the court.”
In the final at the IMPACT Arena, an Indian outfit oozing confidence sidestepped 14-time winners and holders Indonesia 3-0. Boe, who also has Thomas Cup bronze medals from the 2012 and 2018 editions, revealed India had deep-rooted belief from the get-go.
“We actually came into the tournament believing we had a chance,” he said. “I told the team that if we stick together, stay united on court, lift each other, we have a fair chance of winning. That was the spirit that kept carrying us through matches.
“On paper, Indonesia and Denmark were the biggest favourites but we took both down. It’s difficult to describe how proud I am of my team.”
En route to their triumph, India overcame Boe’s nation of birth Denmark 3-2 in the semifinals. Was it tough to plot the Danes’ downfall?
“It wasn’t that difficult to be honest,” said the two-time European champion. “We are used to playing each other in the Danish domestic league. I did that for almost 20 years, coaching against your former colleagues and friends is part of the culture.
“I’m now fully involved with the Indian team, that is where my professional heart lies.”
Asked how different it was to win with another country, Boe replied: “I’m proud I could do it with two nations. I don’t know how many have done that.”