Asian Games 2023: Men’s badminton team wins historic silver medal
This marks the first-ever above-bronze medal for India at badminton team events.
India, following a remarkable performance against South Korea in the Badminton Men’s Team semi-final, faced China in the gold medal match in the Asian Games 2023. Regrettably, India had to settle for silver, as China, coming back from a 2-0 deficit, clinched a 3-2 victory. A setback occurred before the match even began, with HS Prannoy, India’s top-ranked player, sidelined due to a back injury.
Nevertheless, Lakshya Sen initiated the proceedings impressively, defeating World No.6 Shi Yu Qi in three sets with scores of 22-20, 14-21, and 21-18.
Following that, the men’s doubles showcased a dazzling display by Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy. In a battle between the second and third-ranked pairs globally, the Indian duo secured a comfortable 21-15, 21-18 victory. Kidambi Srikanth, the former World No. 1 and a standout from the semi-final, then stepped up to potentially clinch a historic gold medal for India. His opponent, Li Shifeng, put up a fierce fight, with Srikanth taking the lead in the first set but eventually losing it in a closely contested match. The World No.8 secured a 24-22, 21-9 victory, bringing the tie score to 2-1.
In the fourth match, the unanticipated pairing of Dhruv Kapila and Sai Pratheek faced off against World No.8 Liu Yuchen and Ou Xuanyi. While the Indian duo struggled in the first set, losing 6-21, they displayed an improved performance in the second set. However, the Chinese pair proved formidable, leading to a 15-21 defeat for the new Indian combination.
The ultimate decider boiled down to the final match featuring Mithun Manjunath against Weng Hong Yang. In this clash, the World No.53 faced off against the World No.20, with the fate of the competition hanging in the balance. Unfortunately, the Indian player was overpowered in the first set, concluding at 12-21, and the second set proved equally challenging, ending at 4-21, ultimately securing the gold medal for China.
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This silver medal marked India’s first achievement in the team category at the Asian Games since 1986. A significant 37 years ago, during the Asiad held in Seoul, a team consisting of Prakash Padukone, Uday Pawar, Ravi Kunte, Vimal Kumar, Leroy D’Sa, and Sant Misra had secured a bronze medal.
The ongoing Asian Games represented a historic milestone, as it was the first time the Indian team advanced to the gold medal match in the Team category. Their journey included a 3-0 victory against Nepal in the quarterfinals and a hard-fought 3-2 win against South Korea.