Asian Games: 1st medal in 37 years, Indian men's badminton wins maiden silvertext_fields
Hangzhou: The Indian men's badminton team took home the silver medal at the 19th Asian Games after falling to China in the gold medal final, 3-1, on Sunday.
This was India's first-ever medal in a competitive continental meet for the men's team event. Additionally, this was India's first medal in a men's team event at the Asian Games in 37 years.
The last time the men's team secured a medal at the Asian Games was during the 1986 Seoul edition. Icons such as Prakash Padukone and Syed Modi led the team, which included Vimal Kumar, Ravi Kunte, Uday Pawar, Sanat Mishra, and Leroy D’sa.
Heading into the final match against the defending champions, India felt the absence of top singles player H.S Prannoy as he was not fielded on Sunday because of an injury he picked up in the semifinal win against South Korea on Saturday.
In Prannoy's absence. Mithun Manjunath played the fifth match and lost to China's Hongyang Weng.
In the opening tie, Lakshya Sen beat world No. 6 Shi Yuqi 22-20, 14-21, 21-18. Then, the world No. 3 men's doubles duo of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy won 21-15, 21-18 against world no. 2 pair Liang Weikeng and Wang Chang to give India an early 2-0 lead.
But, the Chinese team levelled the gold medal tie 2-2 when Li Shifeng beat former world No. 1 Srikanth 24-22, 21-9 and the men's pair of Liu Yuchen and Ou Xuanyi claimed a 21-6, 21-5 win against Dhruv Kapila and Sai Pratheek.
In the last tie, Manjunath failed to save the match as he suffered a 6-21, 15-21 loss. As a result, India lost the tie 2-3 and settled for the silver medal.
Badminton events at the Asian Games 2023 will continue with the singles, doubles and mixed doubles events, starting from October 2.
With inputs from IANS