India badminton team creates history, bags first-ever silver medal in Asian Games

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HANGZHOU: Indian men’s badminton team on Sunday bagged the first-ever silver medal in the Asian Games after losing in the final 2-3 against hosts China in Hangzhou.

This was India’s best-ever finish in team events of the Asian Games. China claimed a gold medal in the Men’s badminton event at the 19th Asian Games for a second successive occasion.

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Lakshya Sen and the men’s doubles pair Satwik Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty got India off to a flier but India failed to capitalise on it as they let the hosts China script a comeback and take the tie 3-2.

Sensational Sen started the proceedings for the Indian team. He was trailing 10-14 at one stage in the final game but made a fantastic turnaround to win the game by 22-20.

Sen had his moments in the second game but was playing catch-up for the most part. Both players showed signs of fatigue as the rallies grew shorter and the error count rose. However, it was Yuqi who came out victorious and struck back hard to take Lakshya to the deciding game.

Yuqi extended his dominance into the third game and held a 14-10 lead over Indian. Lakshya made an epic comeback as he scored four consecutive points to draw level before pulling ahead in some fashion.

He held four match points, and while he lost the first two, he made no mistake on the third instance, smashing it down the middle and giving India a 1-0 lead in this gold medal match.

Lakshya displayed tremendous grit, endurance, and in-game smarts to pull off a sensational win for India 22-20, 14-21, 21-18 against World No. 6 Yuqi Shi.

World No.3 players in men’s double Satwik Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty started the game against World No.2 Wang Chang and Liang Weikeng with brutal smashes.

The Indian pair Rankireddy and Shetty were absolutely on their A-Game throughout the match.

Shetty was in terrific form with his net play and left the Chinese duo rattled. While Liang and Wang did get close, Satwik and Chirag secured three game points and won with the second, taking India to the cusp of making history.

The Chinese men’s badminton team, after conceding a two-match lead, came back to level the gold medal tie 2-2 at the Asian Games. Li Shifeng defeated former world No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth 24-22, 21-9.

It was an uphill task for India from that point on with the makeshift pair of Dhruv Kapila and K Sai Pratheek to face the World No. 8 men’s doubles team of Yuchen Liu and Xuanyi Ou

Liu Yuchen and Ou Xuanyi, meanwhile, claimed a 21-6, 21-5 triumph against Dhruv Kapila and Sai Pratheek.

With the equal score tie, the final moved to a decider clash. In the fifth and final match, India’s Mithun Manjunath put up a fight in the first game but was simply no match for Weng Hongyang in the second.

Mithun Manjunath lost 21-12, 21-4 to Weng Hongyang as India settled for silver. (ANI)

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