South Asian Games 2019 Medal Tally, Badminton: India bags gold medals by defeating Sri Lanka in men's and women's badminton clashes
The Indian shuttlers put up a dominating performance in Nepal where the biennial multi-sporting extravaganza is being held. In its 13th edition, the South Asian Games has been a common hunting ground for Indian players and once again, our shuttlers have come out on top of the tally with gold medal wins in the men's and women's summit clashes against Sri Lanka.
While the men's South Asian Games 2019 Badminton squad was headed by former World No. 1 player Kidambi Srikanth, the women's team had the likes of N. Sikki Reddy and Gayatri Gopichand.
It was a wonderful team outing for Indian shuttlers at Pokhara as they handed Pakistan a defeat in the first part of the day. Clashing in the semi-finals of the South Asian Games, India emerged to be too powerful for the neighbouring nation and both the men's and women's team collected easy wins to set up a date with Sri Lanka in the finals.
In their clash with Pakistan, the men's team notched an overwhelming 3-0 win. The doubles pair of Arun George and Sanywam Shukla and the singles duo of Krishna Prasad Garanga and Siril Verma got easy victories against the neighbouring nation.
Arun and Sanyam took down Raja Muhammad Hasnain and Atique Muhammad 21-12, 21-12 while Siril dominated Zahid Awais 21-7,21-7. In the other singles, Krishna Prasad Garanga overcame Ali Murad 21-19, 21-18. With these comprehensive wins, the Indian team set up a clash with Sri Lanka in the finals.
The women's team also proved to be ruthless against Pakistan and recorded a 3-0 win in the semi-finals. Sai Uttejitha Rao Chukka took down Mahoor Shahzad 21-12, 21-18 and Pullela Gopichand's daughter, Gayatri Gopichand, impressed Palwasha Bashir 21-14, 21-11. On the other hand, the duo of Meghna Jakkampudi and N Sikki Reddy emerged too powerful for Javeed Huma and Akram Sheera 21-14, 21-12.
Once in the finals, Kidambi Srikanth ably led the charge against Sri Lanka but he had to struggle against Dinuka Karunaratne 17-21,21-15, 21-11 to get the better of him. Siril Verma advanced India's lead to 2-0 after Sachin Premashan retired in the game break of the second game 21-17, 11-5.
In the doubles encounter, Arun George and Sanyam Shukla were made to fight tooth and nail but eventually they lost out 18-21, 21-14, 11-21 to Sri Lankan pair of Sachin and B Tharindu Goonathilake. With that, Sri Lanka trailed India at 1-2. Soon after, the duo of Krishna Prasad Garanga and Dhruv Kapila delivered the winning act 21-14, 21-18 over Karunaratne and Hasitha Chanaka in the other doubles match.
In the women's team finals, it was an out and out show for the Indian shuttlers as they bagged the gold medal after a 3-0 victory against Team Sri Lanka. Ashmita Chaliha was ruthless and got the match 21-12, 21-13 while Aakarshi Kashyap also registered a straight game win 21-19, 21-10.
Finally, it was Gopichand's daughter, Gayatri who brought the final win for the team as she won after a stiff fight 13-21, 21-18, 21-10.
India is off to a wonderful start and has collected 16 medals to claim the second position on the South Asian Games medals tally. With the individual badminton events due to begin from Tuesday, there is much more to look out for from the jubilant Indian badminton contingent.