India finished a historic campaign at the WSF World International Doubles at Marrara, Darwin in Australia on Thursday with three medals for the first time in the history of the championships. The second-seeded mixed doubles pair of Saurav Ghosal and Dipika Pallikal had to settle for silver in the summit clash where they lost to the third seeds Paul Coll and Joelle King of New Zealand, 8-11, 8-11 in 34 minutes.
Besides that, the second Indian mixed doubles pair of Harinderpal Sandhu and Joshna Chinappa as well as the top-seeded women’s doubles team of Chinappa and Pallikal both captured the bronze after losing their respective semi-finals.
Pallikal and Ghosal had prevailed over the Kiwi mixed doubles pair in a tight match a day earlier in their final group assignment and were thus considered the favourites. But King and Coll put up a determined show that took the game out of the Indians’ hands.
By constantly varying their pace and returns, they never allowed the Indians to build a rhythm. The Kiwi pair’s dropshots and their strategy of keeping the ball in the middle paid rich dividends.
The Indians had more chances in the second game which was neck and neck. But Coll and King applied just the right amount of pressure in the end, to seal the win in straight games.
The performance of all the Indian players at the World Doubles earned praise from the national coach Cyrus Poncha who called it a ‘fabulous show’.
“Whichever way one viewed it, this has been a fabulous show overall by the Indians. Returning with three medals is something to be proud of and the players surely need a pat on their backs for this,” said Poncha, who was with the squad in Darwin.
The Indians will now be turning their attention to the season’s first World Series event – the Hong Kong Open that starts on August 23.