HS Prannoy, Satwiksairaj-Chirag Shetty Assur India Of Asian Games Medals, PV Sindhu bows out in quarterfinals

HS Prannoy fought his way to the semi-finals and became only the first Indian in 41 years to win a men’s singles badminton medal at the Asian Games, but it was curtains for PV Sindhu in the women’s singles in Hangzhou on Thursday. Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty then advanced to the last four, becoming the second Indian men’s doubles pair to secure a medal after Leroy D’sa and Pradeep Gandhe won a bronze in 1982. He played with taping on his lower back and a belt under his jersey battled severe back spasms Prannoy to deliver a performance for the ages, outshining Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia 21-16 21-23 22-20 in the quarter-finals to secure India’s second badminton medal at the ongoing Games. (Asian Games 2023 medals | Asian Games 2023 full schedule)

India had won a silver in men’s team championships last Sunday.

“I think it was a really tough one out there. I think Lee is always a tough opponent. It was a very physical match today for me,” Prannoy said after the match.

“I’m not at all in a state where I can say I’m 80 percent right. But I think to pull off something like that, I’d give a lot of credit to myself. I think that the will to fight has always been there. So I think it paid off.” Prannoy will face home favorite China’s Li Shi Feng for a place in the final.

Satwik and Chirag then claimed a men’s doubles medal after 41 years with an easy 21-7 21-9 win over Singapore’s Nge Joo Jie and Johann Prajogo in the quarter-finals to set up a clash with Malaysia’s Aaron Chia and Sooh Wooi Yik on Friday.

However, Sindhu had to endure the pain of returning without a medal for the first time in nine years after she lost 16-21 12-21 to world No. 5 He Bingjiao of China in 47 minutes to bow out of the competition.

After battling through a marathon 78-minute contest, 31-year-old Prannoy from Kerala collapsed on the pitch in disbelief. He then removed his shirt, fisted and ran into the arms of head coach Pullela Gopichand.

Prannoy thus ended India’s long wait for a men’s singles medal at the Asian Games, with Syed Modi winning the first – a bronze – at the 1982 edition in New Delhi.

The World Cup bronze medalist was ruled out of the team championship final due to the back injury as India went down 2-3 to China to settle for a silver.

“It affects me. But that’s sports. You can’t be 100 percent every day. But you have to learn to play games even when you’re 60 or 70 percent. I think today was one of them. days when I had to do it,” he said.

Prannoy showed his mental strength as he rallied from a 5-11 deficit to grab the opening game and then held two match points in the second only to see it slip away.

But Prannoy quickly wiped the board clean and once again fought back in the decider, saving two match points with his booming smashes and feints to register a big win.

Prannoy had beaten Lee, a former All England champion, at the Badminton Asia Championships in Dubai, but he did not have a good start.

However, the Indian managed to erase a six-point deficit at the break to grab four game points, with Lee faltering with his length and going far and wide. He converted at the first opportunity.

Prannoy used his drops and feints to vary the pace of the rallies and lead 7-4 before taking a two-point lead at intervals. Lee fought his way to a 15-13 lead before the Indian regained his lead with three consecutive points and soon stood just two points from a 20-18 victory.

However, a couple of nets went the Malaysian’s way as Lee leveled and got a game point at 22-21. He took the match to decide after Prannoy found the net.

Prannoy trailed 2-4 early in the third game. He then tried to extend rallies with deep throws, but he lacked the finish, often hitting the net or wide as Lee led 7-4.

However, he once again posted a recovery to break back at 8-8 before Lee committed few unforced errors as the Indian led 11-10 at the break.

A perfect net shot after a long rally brought Prannoy up 13-10. Two deep smashes on both sides brought him to 15-13. But Lee kept breathing down his neck and made it 16-16.

Prannoy struggled with his back and then asked for a medical timeout to apply magic spray.

On the resumption, Lee picked up the pace and unleashed a body smash and another smash on Prannoy’s backhand to pull away.

A long rally followed at 18-19 when Lee came up with a smash to get two match points. Prannoy then sent two accurate crosses to make it 20-20. He then got one match point and converted with another accurate smash.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)

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