April 20, 2024

We were unlucky to lose the final to China, feels Pullela Gopichand

Playing against world champions China, in their backyard in the Asian Games team championships final in Hangzhou, the Indians led 2-0 to silence the vociferous home crowd.

Pullela Gopi Chand feels India were the victims of bad luck

Pullela Gopi Chand feels India were the victims of bad luck

The Indian men’s badminton came perilously near to completing Mission Impossible. Playing against world champions China, in their backyard in the Asian Games team championships final in Hangzhou, the Indians led 2-0 to silence the vociferous home crowd. Needing to win just one match of the remaining three, the Indians faltered, yet ended up winning their first-ever silver medal at the Asian Games.

Speaking to Everflipnews, chief coach Pullela Gopi Chand could not hide his disappointment. “Yes. I know it’s tough to digest a loss when you are 2-0 up in a best-of-five match final, But then I have to say that the injury to Prannoy (he sustained in the semis against Korea) was a big blow to us,” he added.

He also felt the Indian team was the victim of bad luck. “Prannoy’s injury could not have at a worse time. We wanted him to play the third match and clinch the tie. But that was not to be,” he said.

It must be mentioned here Prannoy has been India’s leading and most consistent shuttler, beating all the world’s top players apart from clinching a bronze at the recently concluded World Championships in Copenhagen.

Young Lakshya Sen has been the cynosure of all eyes, started the Indian campaign on a dream note when he defeated China’s top player Shi Yu Qi in a pulsating three-game match, Lakshya who is known to reserve his best for the big occasions came out firing on all cylinders. His smashes were on target and his immaculate net play ensured that the pressure was always on Shi. It was a closely fought opening game which went in the Indian’s favour at 22-20,

The second game saw Shi playing much more freely as he scored repeatedly with his stinging smashes. To add to his woes, Lakshya made some crucial mistakes at the net to hand over the initiative to the Chinese ace. Shi was always in control as he coasted to a 21-14 win.  

The decision proved to be a ding-dong affair with Shi keeping his nose ahead but the never-say-die Lakshya could not be denied as he stunned the Chinese supporters by winning 21-18.  

Thereafter, the crack combination of Satwik and Chirag consolidated India’s lead when they thrashed the Chinese world No. 2 pair of Weiking Liang and Chang Wang 21-15, 21-18.

But the Chinese could not be denied as All England champion Li Shi Feng and Weng Honyang won their respective singles matches to see the hosts through.

“This time we gave China a run for their money. We were very close to beating them. I am sure next time around we will reverse the result,” said a confident Gopi.

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