Asian Games 2023 Badminton: Indian Men’s Team Clinches Silver in Thrilling Final Against China

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India finished with a silver medal in the men’s team badminton event at the Asian Games 2023 in Hangzhou, the People’s Republic of China, on Sunday. The Indian men’s badminton team lost the gold medal match 2-3 to China.

This was India’s second-ever silver medal in Asian Games badminton after PV Sindhu’s women’s singles final appearance at Jakarta 2018. India have now won 11 medals – two silver and nine bronze – in the sport at the continental meet.

Heading into the final match against the defending champions, the Indian team had the odds stacked against it with HS Prannoy, the top-ranked Indian singles player in the world badminton rankings, sidelined from the tie with a back injury.

However, Lakshya Sen and Chirag Shetty-Satwiksairaj Rankireddy stepped up to the occasion with victories against tough opponents to give India hope. However, Kidambi Srikanth, Dhruv Kapila-K Sai Pratheek and Mithun Manjunath, who came in for the tie in place of HS Prannoy, though, failed to capitalise on the lead as India lost 2-3.

En route to the final, the Indian men’s badminton registered a thrilling 3-2 win over the Republic of Korea in the semi-finals after blanking Nepal 3-0 in the quarters.

Lakshya Sen gave India a dream start, beating Shi Yuqi 22-20, 14-21, 21-18 in the first match.

Commonwealth Games champion Lakshya Sen dug deep to win a tight first game but lost the second. The decider seemed to be heading the Chinese shuttler’s way with Lakshya trailing 13-8 but he rallied to pick up the important win.

In the second match, India’s doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy beat Weikeng Liang and Chang Wang 21-15, 21-18 to hand India a 2-0 lead. The Chinese pair is ranked second in the world and won a bronze medal at the world championships earlier this year.

In the absence of HS Prannoy, the onus was on former world No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth in the third tie against the reigning All England champion Li Shifeng. However, Kidambi Srikanth lost 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 facing off against the world No. 8 men’s doubles team of Yuchen Liu and Xuanyi Ou while Mithun Manjunath, the world No. 53 in men’s singles, took on China’s – a player ranked 33 places above him.

Dhruv Kapila was partnering Sai Pratheek in the absence of his regular partner MR Arjun, who was also unfit for the tie. The India doubles pair lost 21-6, 21-15 as the match headed into a decider.

In the fifth and final match, India’s Mithun Manjunath lost 21-12, 21-4 to Weng Hongyang as India settled for silver – the country’s first medal in the men’s team badminton event at the Asian Games since 1976.

Earlier in the day, the Republic of Korea defeated China 3-0 to win the gold medal in the women’s team event.

The Indian women’s team ended its Hangzhou 2023 campaign in the quarter-finals after losing to Thailand earlier in the week.

Badminton events at the Asian Games 2023 will continue with the singles, doubles and mixed doubles events, starting from October 2.

Featured Image: The Statesman

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