Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy were heartbroken after failing to make the cut for the quarterfinals at the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday. The Indian men’s doubles duo of Chirag and Satwiksairaj won two of their three Group A league matches, but still couldn’t qualify for the knockout stage.
Dubbed the "Group of Death", Group A saw the World No. 1 pair Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo and Marcus Fernaldi Gideon (Indonesia) and World No. 3 duo of Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin (Chinese Taipei) progress to the next round.
The young Indian pair were left devastated after they realized they wouldn't go through despite winning their third and final league match against Great Britain's Sean Vendy and Ben Lane. Both Chirag and Satwiksairaj called their respective families to share their grief as they couldn't hold back their emotions.
Speaking to Sportskeeda, Satwik's father Kasi Viswanath said:
"Satwik was feeling very sad when he called us. He broke down and cried like a baby when he was speaking with his mother and brother. In fact, we all failed to check our emotions when he was crying.
"Satwik was ruing the failed opportunity to make it to the quarter-finals on his Olympic debut. He was confident of making it to the quarters after their upset win over World No. 3 Chinese Taipei players on Saturday. However, the same Chinese Taipei duo shattered our dreams by beating the strong Indonesians."
Kasi Viswanath, wife Rangamani and Satwik's older brother Charan watched the match on TV at their Amalapuram residence in Andhra Pradesh.
"We had mixed emotions after watching the Satwik-Chirag match," Viswanath went on. "We are happy that they defeated the Great Britain pair Ben Lane and Sean Vendy in straight games. However, we were dejected when we came to know that our boys won’t be qualifying for the next round because of the game-difference. I told Satwik not to get disheartened as it is part and parcel of the game and he will get many more opportunities to shine for India in future."
A former national-level athletics and basketball player, Kasi Viswanath knows there are many ups and downs in sports. At such a down moment for Satwik, however, Viswanath could do very little to cheer his son up.
I told Chirag not to lose heart as losses are part and parcel of the game: Chandrashekhar Shetty
Chirag Shetty was also left gutted after learning the result of the match between Chinese Taipei and Indonesia. Doubles coach Mathias Boe reportedly had to calm down both Chirag and Satwik as they were unable to control their emotions inside the stadium.
Chirag's father, Chandrashekhar Shetty, told Sportskeeda:
"Obviously, both Chirag and Satwik were quite depressed after performing well and not qualifying for the knockouts. They did what was in their hands by beating the Great Britain opponents today. However, circumstances forced them to miss the bus by a whisker.
"When Chirag called us after the match, he was quite sad. I told him that he has performed well and not to get disheartened. I also told him to go around the Olympic Village and soak up the atmosphere to change his mood. I am sure he will get over the disappointment soon and will be alright by tomorrow."
The Shettys live in Mumbai, near Goregaon Sports Club, where Chirag learnt the basics of the game from his first coach Uday Pawar. Interestingly, both Chirag and Satwik's family members are annoyed at people still asking about the timing of the duo's next match.
"Since Chirag-Satwik won today and they watched the match live on TV, everyone is thinking that they are still in contention," Chandrashekhar Shetty said. "Most of them have no clue about the rules and regulations. Several well-wishers, friends and relatives are asking us about the next opponents and date of the match."
Chirag and Satwik will return to India on Thursday as it is mandatory to leave the Tokyo Olympic Village no later than 48 hours after your last match.