New Delhi, 8 October: Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy created history as they won India’s first-ever badminton gold medal at the Asian Games.
The world No. 3 Indian pair rewrote a new script when they overwhelmed Korea's Choi Sol Gyu and Kim Won Ho 21-18, 21-16 in the final to end their campaign on a golden note.
This was Chirag-Satwik’s fifth title of the year, following wins at the Swiss Open, Asia Championships, Indonesia Open and Korea Open.
Choi Sol Gyu and Kim Won Ho, who upset Tokyo 2020 Olympic champions Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin of the Chinese Taipei in the semi-finals, picked up just where they left off in their last game. The Koreans, ranked 15th in the world, dominated the early phases and led for most of the opening game.
With the score 18-15 in the Korean pair’s favour, the opener seemed to be going Choi Sol Gyu and Kim Won Ho’s way but Chirag and Satwiksairaj launched a brilliant comeback and scored six back-to-back points to take the lead.
In the second game, the two pairs went toe-to-toe in initial exchanges and the Indians led by just a single point going into the mid-game break. After the restart, though, Chirag and Satwiksairaj began to break away and pocketed the game comfortably to wrap up the match in 57 minutes.
This was India’s third straight win in as many matches against the South Korean pair. The Indians had knocked out Malaysia's Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik, the Tokyo Olympic bronze medalists, to seal a place in the final. Earlier, the India duo edged out the Singaporean pair of Nge Joo Jie and Johann Prajogo in the quarter-finals to assure themselves a medal from Hangzhou.
India finished their badminton campaign at Hangzhou with three medals. Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy were also part of the Indian men's team which clinched a silver medal last week. HS Prannoy won a bronze in the men’s singles event.
India’s campaign in women’s singles ended after two-time Olympic medalist PV Sindhu crashed out in the quarter-finals. The 28-year-old PV Sindhu had bagged a women’s singles silver medal in the event at the 2018 Jakarta Games - which was India’s best performance in Asian Games badminton before Hangzhou.