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Asiad badminton: Chirag-Satwiksairaj win historic gold medal

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Hangzhou: India’s Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy became the first-ever Indian badminton doubles pair to win a gold medal in the Asian Games here on Saturday.

The Indian pair, ranked third in the world, beat the Republic of Korea’s Choi Sol Gyu and Kim Won Ho 21-18, 21-16 in the finals of Asian Games 2023.

Choi Sol Gyu and Kim Won Ho, carried their form forward from the last game, and dominated the early stages of the match.

Korea were leading 18-15 and seemed they were on the way to grab the first game, but Chirag and Satwiksairaj mounted a brilliant comeback and scored six back-to-back points to take the lead.

In the second game, the two teams went toe-to-toe in initial exchanges and the Indian pair led by just a single point going into the mid-game break. After the restart, though, Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy began to break away and pocketed the game comfortably to wrap up the match in 57 minutes.

This was India’s third straight win in as many matches against the South Korean pair.

Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy had knocked out Malaysia’s Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik, the Tokyo Olympic bronze medallists, to seal a place in the final.

Earlier, the India duo edged out the Singaporean pair of Nge Joo Jie and Johann Prajogo in the quarter-finals to assure themselves a medal from Hangzhou.

India finished their badminton campaign at Hangzhou 2023 with three medals. Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy were also part of the Indian men’s team which clinched a silver medal last week. HS Prannoy won a bronze in the men’s singles event.

India’s campaign in women’s singles ended after two-time Olympic medallist PV Sindhu crashed out in the quarter-finals. The 28-year-old PV Sindhu had bagged a women’s singles silver medal in the event at the 2018 Jakarta Games – which was India’s best performance in Asian Games badminton before Hangzhou.

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