Hangzhou, Sep 30 : India’s strength in singles discipline helped it beat the mighty Republic of Korea in the men’s team badminton competition and storm into the final for the first time in the history of the sport in the Asian Games.
India defeated Korea 3-2 in the semifinal on Saturday, riding on wins by singles players HS Prannoy, Lakshya Sen and Kidambi Srikanth won their matches while the doubles pairs of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Chirag Shetty and MR Arjun/Dhruv Kapila lost their matches.
This is the first time that India reached the final of the Asian Games Men’s team badminton competition and will take on China, who brushed aside Japan 3-1 in the other semifinal played in the Badminton Stadium at the Binjiang Gymnasium.
India won the bronze medal thrice in men’s team competition in 1974, 1982 and 1986.
PV Sindhu’s silver medal in singles in 2018 is the only one that India has ever won in Asian Games badminton.
HS Prannoy, India’s in-form player, started the ball rolling by beating Hyeokim Jeon 18-21, 21-10, 21-10 in a 78-minute encounter.
Korea then used its superiority in doubles play to win the next two matches.
Satwiksairaj Rannkireddy and Chirag Shetty, the Indian doubles pair ranked in the top-10, lost to the Korean combination of Kang Min Hyuk and Seung Jee Seo, the pair snapping at their heels in the latest rankings, in straight games, 13-21, 24-26 in 83 minutes.
Lakshya Sen put India ahead again by beating Yungyu Lee in straight games, winning 21-7, 21-9 in just 44 minutes.But Korea pulled level once again when Wonho Kim and Sungseung Na defeated MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila in straight games, winning 21-16, 21-11.
It was now left to Srikanth in the third singles and the former World No.1 and World Championship silver medallist did not disappoint as he defeated Geonhyeon Cho.coming back after losing the first game to win 12-21, 21-16, 21-14 in 9 minutes to seal a memorable victory for India.
This will set up India for a confident display in the individual competitions as they are expected to win more medals and add to the 1 silver and nine bronze medals India has won in the Asian Games so far.
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