New Delhi, February 19: Spearheaded by two-time Olympic medalist PV Sindhu created history as they piped huge favourite and defending champion Thailand 3-2 to win their first-ever Badminton Asia Team Championships title in Selangor, Malaysia, on Sunday.

 

India girls proved that their wins over mighty China and formidable Japan were no flukes as they completed their giant-killing campaign by dethroning Thailand to emerge the new continental champion,

The Champions showed that they were the superior outfit in the final with convincing wins by former world champion PV Sindhu, a hard-fought triumph by All England semi-finalists Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand, and national champion Anmol Kharab winning the deciding rubber in style to take the team home.

 “It is a proud moment for all of us. It also underlined the depth of badminton talent in India and we are confident that this bunch of players will win many more titles in the coming years,” said BAI  Secretary General  Sanjay Mishra. 

It was vintage Sindhu against Supanida Katethong in the opening singles. She adopted an aggressive approach against a player who has troubled her in the past and the game plan paid dividends.

She rarely looked under any pressure throughout the 39-minute encounter, winning 21-12, 21-12 to give India the lead.

And the combination of Treesa and Gayatri then doubled the lead for India, winning a nerve-wracking double against the world no. 10 pairing of Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai 21-16, 18-21, 21-16.

The Indians began with a clear game plan of pinning their opponents to the backcourt and attacking at every opportunity they got to clinch the opening game. 

But it was the superior defence of the Thai pairing that helped them claw their way back in the match and it led to the Indians making some uncharacteristic errors.

But to their credit, Gayatri and Treesa displayed nerves of steel when things weren’t really going their way and managed to turn around a 6-10 deficit in the decider to draw level at 14-14. 

They then won five straight points from 15-15 to earn five match points. They converted the second one finish with an all-win record in the competition.

Ashmita Chaliha then could not find the same rhythm that saw her defeat former world champion Nozomi Okuhara of Japan on Saturday as she went down 11-21, 14-21 and the women’s doubles national champions Priya Konjengbam and Shruti Mishra went down against Benyapa and Nuntakarn Aimsaard sister to take the final into the deciding rubber.

It again came down to Anmol to win the deciding point for the team and the 17-year-old once again delivered in style. She took time to get used to Pornpicha Choeikeewong’s power game and trailed 4-6 in the opening game but once she started controlling the rallies there was no stopping her.

She ultimately wrapped up the match 21-14, 21-9 to send the entire team in a frenzied celebration.

 

Results:

 

India bt Thailand 3-2 (PV Sindhu bt Supanida Katethong 21-12, 21-12; Treesa Jolly/Gayatri Gopichand bt Jongkolphan Kititharakul/Rawinda Prajongjai 21-16, 18-21, 21-16; Ashmita Chaliha lost to Busanan Ongbamrungphan 11-21, 14-21; Priya Konjengbam/Shruti Mishra lost to Benyapa Aimsaard/Nuntakarn Aimsaard 11-21, 9-21; Anmol Kharab bt Pornpicha Choeikeewong 21-14 ,21-19.

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