Commonwealth Games 2018 Final Day, India results and roundup: Saina Nehwal emerges as India's golden girl for the day
The final day of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games brought with it the gold and bronze medal matches of the three racquet sports for India.
The final day had a memorable end and it was icing on the cake for what has been the second most successful Commonwealth Games for India. The only other Games where India had a better finish was when they were the hosts in 2010.
We do have to take into account, however, that the Games in Delhi had over 600 Indian athletes and the Indian contingent at the Gold Coast consisted of 225 members.
Saina Nehwal defeated compatriot PV Sindhu 21-18, 23-21 in a thrilling women’s singles final. This was her 2nd gold medal after the one she won in the 2010 Commonwealth Games. You can never rule this girl out of the competition.
The mental and physical strain Saina has come through in the recent past because of her injury is truly admirable and praiseworthy. Her match with PV Sindhu was a gruelling one and witnessed some really long rallies.
Just for a moment during the 2nd game, it seemed that Saina's stamina was giving in towards the final few points and that the match would have to be settled in the 3rd game. However, the Supergirl had it in her and gave one final push to settle the match in the 2nd game itself. A valiant effort by the former World Number 1. Saina played some exceptional drop shots which have become her expertise now.
PV Sindhu may have entered the match with a complex, that Saina has defeated her before and this may have got to her head. Nevertheless, PV Sindhu still has a long long way to go and she will only get better with time. Saina's experience of handling pressure situations in the past added to her advantage.
The last day witnessed the dominating and fearful Lee Chong Wei at his peak as he defeated Kidambi Srikanth 19-21, 21-14, 21-14 in Men's singles, coming back from behind.
Kidambi will be highly disappointed as he attained the World No. 1 position during the Commonwealth Games 2018 and had increased the expectations of him winning the gold manifold in the Men's Singles event. The 25-year-old should still take heart in the fact that he started the match well by winning the first game. With experience, he will certainly learn how to capitalize and take the match away from the opponents by converting good starts to wins.
Lee Chong Wei lost to Kidambi Srikanth in the Mixed Team Event tie, 21-17, 21-14 but he turned the tables this time around. Lee Chong Wei showed his experience while bulldozing his way to the gold medal. Many say he is a slow starter. He certainly saved the best for the last and we witnessed glimpses of him as he was during his peak.
Chirag Shetty and Swastiksairaj Rankireddy bowed out to England's Marcus Ellis & Chris Langridge losing 13-21, 16-21 in the Men's Doubles. The youngsters put on a promising display of courage and determination against their experienced opponents and won a historic silver medal for the nation.
Ashwini Ponnappa/N Sikki Reddy, who had defeated Australia's Setyana Mapasa/Gronya Somerville 21-19, 21-19 in the bronze medal clash yesterday were also presented with bronze their medals today.
Manika Batra continued to be an inspiration as she won her 4th medal at the event, winning a bronze and adding to her tally of 2 gold medals and 1 silver taking her tally to a healthy 4 medals. She has set a benchmark for younger players back home and now they have someone to look up to in the sport. Sathiyan Gyanasekaran and Manika Batra both showed immense faith as they beat their seniors, Achanta Sharath and Mouma Das 11-6, 11-2, 11-4 in three straight games in Mixed Doubles bronze medal match.
After an easy giveaway in the Mixed Doubles match earlier in the day, Achanta Sharath defeated England's Samuel Walker 11-7, 11-9, 9-11, 11-6, 12-10 putting up a valiant display in the Men's singles Bronze medal match. He clinched the Bronze medal in extraordinary fashion and added to his impressive tally of 8 CWG medals, taking it to 9. This is likely his last Commonwealth Games and if this is to be true, it was a fitting send-off for the Indian veteran.
Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal, the gold medal winners in the last edition of the Commonwealth Games had to settle for a silver medal this time around in the Women's Doubles category. They were favourites to repeat the feat but their opponents from New Zealand, Joelle King and Amanda Landers-Murphy put up a great show to win 11-9, 11-9 in two straight games.
The final day ended with India winning 1 gold, 4 silver and 2 bronze medals. This ended India's gold medal quest and after the 11-day extravaganza, India finished with 26 gold medals, 20 silver medals, 20 medals with a combined kitty of 66 medals.