Srikanth Kidambi/FB

CWG Badminton: India claims maiden Gold in Mixed Team event

By: Swetha Reddy
Date: 10 Apr, 2018
Image Courtesy: Srikanth Kidambi/FB

Indian Badminton created history by winning first ever gold in the Mixed-Team Badminton event at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, after defeating Malaysia with 3-1 in the finals on Monday.

For the first time, World No. 2 Kidambi Srikanth defeated World No. 6 Lee Chong Wei in the marquee clash and the crowd went frenzy at the Carrara Sports Arena.

The emanation of stunning victory was set by the mixed doubles duo Ashwini Ponnappa and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, who won the opening match with 21-14, 15-21, 21-15 to put India with 1-0 lead. The second match was a mesmerizing event, when Srikanth conceded the victory over the legend Lee with 21-17, 21-14.

The crowd went hysterical, while, Srikanth with tranquility saved the first game. Second game witnessed series of unforced errors and wrong judgement in the baseline precision by Lee, who easily gave away points to his opponent. The 35-year-old Lee was no longer the same player, who defeated Srikanth in their previous meeting in 2014. Srikanth gave India with 2-0 lead.

The pair of Satwik and Chirag stepped on the court with all guns blazing, but lost the first game with 15-21, in the hard-fought match against V Shem Goh and Wee Kiong Tan. The India pair pushed to the limits, yet lost the match with 20-22 in the second game.

It was short-lived cheer for the Malaysians as Saina fought hard to beat Soniia Cheah in three Games.

It was up to Saina Nehwal to win the Gold for India, who got off to a good start taking the first game 21-11 after trailing 9-11 at the break against Soniia Cheah.

In the second game, Saina came out with much more flair. She went into the break at 11-9, comfortably pulling the string on her opponent. However, she was made to work hard by Cheah after the break as the Malaysian made Saina work around the court much more.

Saina, fought off Cheah's grit, but failed to take the game and the match stretched to the third game, which was neck-to-neck as Soniia made Saina to move around the court. But, Saina managed to get the lead back with 11-9 at the breather.

Saina didn’t let Soniia win at least one point after the break and clinched the match with 21-9.

After the sensational upset Indians created at the Gold Coast on Monday, national chief coach Pullela Gopichand went back to the timeline when India lost to Malaysia in the 1998 Commonwealth Games. Later, in the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games finals, Malaysia defeated India with 3-1.

Led by Srikanth and Saina, the three-time defending champions were dethroned to win the first ever gold medal in the Mixed Team event at CWG.

All the shuttlers will play for their individual titles starting from Tuesday at the Gold Coast.

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