India upsets Malaysia to secures historic Badminton gold
The Indian Badminton team delivered an upset on Monday, winning the Badminton Mixed Team event and ending Malaysia's 12-year hold on the competition.
India's Srikanth Kidambi defeated Malaysian powerhouse Lee Chong Wei in straight sets, securing India's first ever gold medal in the event.
Men’s singles No.1 seed and world No.2 Kidambi maintained complete control of the contest at the Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre on Monday 9 April, taking down Chong Wei, the No.2 seed, 21-17, 21-14.
“Every time you play against someone like Lee Chong Wei, you don't expect to win in straight sets,” Kidambi said.
“There are days when you are at your best and everything looks simple. I think this was one of those days for me.”
Kidambi's victory followed a 65-minute tussle in the mixed doubles game, which saw Satwik Rankireddy and Ashwin Ponnappa recover from a five-point deficit in the final set to defeat Chang Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying (MAS) 21-14, 15-21, 21-15.
Malaysia hit back in the third game as V Shem Goh and Tan Wee defeated Rakireddy and Chirag Chandrashekhar in straight sets, 21-15, 22-20, to take the final into a fourth set.
The tie did not reach a fifth and deciding game, though, as women’s singles No.2 seed Saina Nehwalhit the match-winning point for India in her 21-11, 19-21, 21-9 victory over Soniia Chea, sealing the nation's first mixed team gold.
Nehwal said she was feeling the pressure during the gold medal match, but was happy to win and be part of the historic win.
"When you play team matches, there is a lot of pressure and I felt it in the second set, but I was happy that I could win the third game quite comfortably in the end," she said.
"It is a big achievement and is something that we will always cherish for the rest of our lives. It's a dream come true."
Malaysia had won the Badminton Mixed Team event at the last three Games.
Athletes have now turned their focus to the singles and doubles competition, which begins on Tuesday 10 April and is running until the final day of the Games, Sunday 15 April. Tickets are still available.