Dubai: The Indian badminton team made history as it advanced to the semifinals of the ongoing Badminton Asia Mixed Team Championships and confirmed its first-ever medal in the tournament’s history after defeating Hong Kong 3-2 in their quarterfinal tie in Dubai on Friday.
This is going to be India’s first-ever semis appearance in the tournament. In 2019, it was knocked out in group stages while it was defeated 3-2 by Thailand in the quarterfinals of the inaugural tournament back in 2017.
Having secured their final four spots, India also earned a direct qualification to the Sudirman Cup 2023, which will be held in China this year, as per Olympics.com.
Playing at the Dubai Exhibition Centre, in-form mixed doubles pair Ishan Bhatnagar and Tanisha Crasto’s winning run came to an end as they lost to Lee Chun Hei Reginald and NG Tsz Yau. At one point, the Indians had the lead of 10-0 in the first game. But the Hong Kong duo produced a memorable comeback and saved two game points to take the first game. They also sealed the second game to win the match by 26-24, 21-17.
Badminton Asian Mixed Team C’ships: India top Group B after defeating CWG champions Malaysia 4-1
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India’s Commonwealth Games 2022 gold medalist Lakshya Sen locked horns with world number 14 NG Ka Long Angus in the second match. The 21-year-old won the first closely-contested game, but failed to keep up with Angus in the next two games to lose the match 22-20, 19-21, 18-21.
India’s makeshift men’s doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Dhruv Kapila were up next to battle Tang Chun Man and Yeung Shing Choi in a do-or-die match. The Hong Kong team won the first game despite being down 17-13 at one point. But, the Indians made a comeback in the match to seal it 20-22, 21-16, 21-11.
India’s top women’s badminton star PV Sindhu, a two-time Olympic medalist, also got off to a bad start against world number 258 Saloni Mehta in the first game of the fourth match. But she recovered quickly to seal the match by 16-21, 21-7, 21-9 to level the scoreline at 2-2.
In the last match, the Indian women’s doubles pair of Gayatri Gopichand and Treesa Jolly defeated Ng Tsz Yau and Ng Wing Yung 21-13, 21-12 to seal India’s semifinal clash against defending champions China, which will take on Saturday.
After the win, the Badminton Association of India (BAI) Media tweeted, “HISTORY SCRIPTED 1st time in the history of competition #TeamIndia secures a medal and a place in the semifinals Congratulations team, well done: @badmintonphoto #BAMTC2023 #IndiaontheRise #Badminton.”.