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  • Writer's pictureDahlia Foundation

Badminton: Indian Men One Win Away From First-Ever Team Gold At Asian Games

Kidambi Srikanth rallied his way to a thrilling win in a tense decider as India kept alive their hopes of winning a first-ever gold medal at the Asian Games, reaching the men's team championships final with a 3-2 win over South Korea in Hangzhou on Saturday. This is India's maiden entry into the final of the team event at the continental showpiece. World No. 7 HS Prannoy showed nerves of steel to bounce back from an opening game reversal to outwit Jeon Hyeok Jin 18-21 21-16 21-19 and put India 1-0 ahead but Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty lost the first doubles 13-21 24-26 to reigning world champions Seo Seung-Jae and Kang Min-hyuk as Korea made it 1-1.

Lakshya Sen then put up a dominating show in the second singles to bring India back in business with a clinical 21-7 21-9 win over Lee Yungyu but MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila lost 16-21 11-21 to Kim Wonho and NA Sungseung in the second doubles as the two teams found themselves on level terms once again.

Srikanth, a 2021 World Championships silver medallist, then fought his way under pressure to struggle past world no. 163 Cho Geonyeop 12-21 21-16 21-14 and seal India's place in the summit clash at the BJ Gymnasium.

India will look to live up to their Thomas Cup champions tag when they face multiple-time gold medallist China in the final on Sunday.

Saturday's win assured India of at least a silver medal in badminton at the continental championships with two-time Olympic medallist PV Sindhu winning the first in women's singles in the 2018 edition at Jakarta.

The last time the Indian men won a badminton medal in team championships was at the 1986 edition at Seoul where Sen's mentor Prakash Padukone and Vimal Kumar played a crucial role.

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