GOLD COAST: The legendary but on the wane Lee Chong Wei was one of the casualties as a rampaging Indian mixed badminton team claimed its maiden Commonwealth Games gold medal, thrashing three-time defending champions Malaysia in the final here on Monday.
The pair of Satwik Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa claimed the mixed doubles match against Peng Soon Chan and Liu Yong Goh 21-14, 15-21, 21-15 before Kidambi Srikanth stunned three-time Olympic silver medallist Lee 21-17, 21-14 in straight games, his first victory over the Malaysian giant.
“Perhaps Lee was not at his best but then you can never be too sure against a player like him. You always have to be on your guard, which I was. And I also gave my best. I was not expecting it to be this easy,” Srikanth said after one of the biggest wins of his career.
“Pressure was there on him but Srikanth enjoys the pressure and that got him the result,” added chief national coach Pullela Gopichand.
The Games debutant men’s doubles pair of Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty lost narrowly to Goh and Wee Kiong Tan 15-21, 20-22 keeping Malaysia afloat for a while. But the in-form Saina Nehwal put paid to their hopes with a 21-11, 19-21, 21-9 win over Sonia Cheah. —PTI
“It was exhausting, I actually lost focus during the match but thankfully managed to hold it together and ensure that the gold medal winning shot was mine,” said the London Olympics bronze-medallist.
“It is a medal that I will forever cherish, it is very special. Team gold is always way more cherishable,” she added.