Asian Games 2023: India squander early lead to lose gold to China in badminton
India were without the service of their top-ranked player HS Prannoy who was sidelined with a back injury.
India badminton players pose with the silver medal in the men’s tournament at 2023 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, on October 1, 2023. (ANI Photo)
INDIA on Sunday (1) ended up with the silver medal in the men’s team badminton event at the ongoing Asian Games 2023 in Hangzhou in China after losing to the hosts 2-3 in the gold-medal clash.
This was the south Asian nation’s second silver medal in badminton at the Asian Games after PV Sindhu’s feat at the Jakarta edition in 2018. Till now, India have won 11 medals in badminton at the continental tournament — two silver and nine bronze.
India had their task cut out this time with their top-ranked singles player HS Prannoy sidelined with a back injury. Yet, Lakshya Sen and Chirag Shetty-Swastiksairaj Rankireddy gave their team hope against the defending champions but Kidambi Srikanth, Dhruv Kapila-K Sai Pratheek and Mithun Manjunath, who came in place of Prannoy, failed to maintain the lead and India eventually lost 2-3.
India beat Nepal 3-0 in the quarters and the Republic of Korea 3-2 in the semi-finals.
Sen gave India a dream start by beating Shi Yuqi 22-20, 14-21, 21-18 in the first match.
In the second match, India’s doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy defeated Weikeng Liang and Chang Wang, ranked second in the world, 21-15, 21-18 to extend their country’s lead.
Former world No.1 Kidambi needed to clinch the third tie against reigning All England champion Li Shifeng to ensure the gold medal. But he lost 22-24, 9-21.
It went downhill for India from that point as the makeshift pair of Kapila and Pratheek in the absence of the regular MR Arjun lost against world No. 8 duo of Yuchen Liu and Xuanyi Ou 6-21, 15-21. In the final, Manjunath lost to world No.20 Weng Hongyang, placed 33 places above him, 12-21, 4-21.
The silver was India’s first medal in the men’s team badminton event at the Asian Games after 1976.
In the women’s section, India lost to Thailand in the quarter-finals. China won gold in the women’s section too, defeating the Republic of Korea 3-0 in the final.
India’s medal tally at the end of Sunday was 53, including 13 gold, 19 silver and 21 bronze.