Noura Al Jasmi, UAE Badminton Federation president, and other dignitaries with the winners during the presentation ceremony.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty made history on Sunday by winning India’s second gold medal in the Badminton Asia Championships, beating Malaysia’s eighth seeds Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi in the men’s doubles final here.
Shetty and Rankireddy defeated the Malaysians Yew Sin Ong and Ee Yi Teo 16-21, 21-17, 21-19 in the final in the 2023 edition, coming back from losing the first game to win the next two games and grabbed the historic gold medal.
The India’s top-ranked male doubles players sounded elated after winning the title, with Shetty saying he was over the moon after winning the title.
“I am over the moon after winning the Badminton Asia Championships title. Satwik and I worked really hard for this medal and I am happy that we have finally won the title. Also, I would like to thank everyone back home for supporting me.
“I am grateful for all the support we have got during the Badminton Asia Championships. It’s a great feeling to win this tournament for the first time and I am sure we will win more such titles in the future. We will continue to work hard to bring laurels to the country,” concluded Rankireddy.
This was India’s second gold medal in the Asian Badminton Championships after Dinesh Khanna bagged the men’s singles gold in 1965. Satwik and Chirag are also the first Indian pair to reach the final of the Asian Championship and went on to win the gold medal.
Shetty and Rankireddy, who won the bronze medal in Men’s Doubles at the 2022 World Championships in Tokyo, have claimed two bronze medals in the Asian Team Championships (2016, 2020).
The gold on Sunday could be considered the biggest medal in their career thus far as the Indian duo has won five titles on the BWF World Tour and have twice finished runners-up.
Talking about the final, Satwiksairaj said they rode on the support of the crowd to victory against the Malaysian pair.
“I think today we didn’t play, the crowd played with us. It was a bad start in the first and half of the second game, but we didn’t give up. We kept our nerves; we know how to play in these situations. So, we were waiting for a good rhythm and then take our chances. We were calmer in the second and third games. It felt like playing in Hyderabad. The crowd was amazing.”
Shetty said the turning point in the match was at 13-8 in the second game.
“After 13-8, we tried to play a little smarter. Service was one thing that worked really well for us; it took them by surprise. We were also a lot calmer while defending as well.”
As for how did it feel to make history and becoming Asian champions, Rankireddy said, “Personally for me, it will take a lot of time to believe that we are the Asian champions. I still don’t believe we are Thomas Cup champions. It’s our dream to win for India and make the flag fly high. Good boost for us as we go into the Olympic qualification period.”
Himanta Biswa Sarma, Badminton Association of India (BAI) President announced Rs20 lakhs (Dhs89,847.15) as a reward for this historic win by the Indian pair.
World number two Anthony Sinisuka Ginting was crowned the new men’s champion at the Badminton Asia Championships when he ended the run of Singapore’s Loh Kean Yew in the final on Sunday.
Ginting packed off the 2021 world champion in just 28 minutes, winning 21-12, 21-8 in a lopsided title decider.
Tzu Ying continued her good run in Dubai to win her third Asian crown in style. The world no. 3 came out with her deceptive drops to stretch the rising star from Korea An Se Young to the limit. Tzu Ying eventually won 21-10, 21-14 in a 32-minute women’s singles final.
Earlier, Japanese women’s doubles pair of Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota defeated South Koreans Baek Ha Na and Lee So Hee in straight games 21-7, 21-14 for their first title in three years.
Chinese top seeds Zheng Si Wei and Huang Ya Qiong’s amazing run that included All England mixed doubles title was ended by their younger compatriots Jiang Zhen Bang and Wei Ya Xin who shocked the defending champions in straight games 21-15, 21-16.