Kidambi Srikanth came up with an underwhelming performance as India succumbed 1-3 to Malaysia and settled for a silver in the mixed team badminton event at the Commonwealth Games here on Tuesday.
Srikanth lost to lower-ranked Tze Yong Ng in three games to put the defending champions on the backfoot in the final.
PV Sindhu did what was expected out of her in the women’s singles while the men’s doubles pairing of Satwik Sairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty went down in the opening doubles.
With the win, Malaysia regained the title they had lost to India four years ago in Gold Coast.
For India to retain gold, a lot depended on the outcome of the men’s doubles tie featuring Rankireddy and Shetty, and, the Olympic bronze medallists duo of Teng Fong Aaron Chia and Wooi Yik Soh.
The women’s doubles and mixed doubles were India’s weaker links and the team relied on men’s doubles and the two singles to get the job done.
The opening contest was full of long and winding rallies but Reddy and Shetty lost majority of them, failing to keep pace with the ultra attacking Malaysian pair.
For a change, the Malaysian crowd made more noise than the Indians, providing a further push to Chia and Soh. After a tough battle, the Malaysians won 21-18, 21-15 to put their team 1-0 up
In the women’s singles, two-time Olympic medallist Sindhu was expected to win comfortably but the 60-th ranked Goh Jin Wei made life very tough for the world number 7.
Sindhu led 11-6 in the first game but Goh looked a different player after the interval. She made the former world champion run around the court with her skillful net play. Goh made a strong comeback to take the game till the very end.
Sindhu ended a rally with a forehand smash on Goh’s left to make it 21-20 before the Malaysian netted a return.
Goh’s continued with similar tactics in the second game as well, trying to bring Sindhu close to the net. However, Sindhu was up for the task as she took an 11-7 lead in the second game. Goh closed the gap after the interval but Sindhu was able to finish the game comfortably on this occasion. It was a gruelling affair and Goh gave her all on court including the last point when she fell on the floor. The final scoreline read 22-20 and 21-17
World number 14 Srikanth came up with a flat performance in the men’s singles.
The 42-ranked Tze Yong Ng took the first game off Srikanth for the first time in three meetings to raise hopes of an upset,
The Indian then ran away with the second game to level the match.
In the decider, Tze led 11-9 at the interval after couple of unforced errors from the Indian. It became 16-12 with Srikanth unable to match Tze’s net play.
The Malaysian got his first match point after a long rally that saw Srikanth misjudging a line call at the baseline.
Srikanth sent a smash wide in the following point to hand Malaysia a 2-1 advantage. It was also Tze’s first win over the former world number 1 with the final result reading 21-19, 6-21, 21-16 .
The world number 11 duo of Thinaah Muralitharan and Koong Le Pearly Tan was too good for lower-ranked Gayatri Gopichand and Treesa Jolly in the women’s doubles, winning 21-18, 21-17 to complete the task.
Weightlifter Lovepreet Singh claims bronze in Men’s 109 kg
Heavyweight weightlifter Lovepreet Singh added to India’s rich haul from weightlifting at the Commonwealth Games by claiming a bronze medal in the Men’s 109kg division at the National Exhibition Centre here on Wednesday. This is the maiden medal for the weightlifter from Amritsar, Punjab in Commonwealth Games.
The 24-year-old Lovepreet Singh lifted 163 in snatch and added 192kg in clean and jerk for a combined total of 355 kg, which put him behind Junior Periclex Ngadja Nyabeyeu of Cameroon, who had a total of 361 and Jack Hittila Opeloge of Samoa who had a total of 358. He was a bit lucky as Australia’s Jackson George Roberts-Young failed to lift 150 kg in snatch in two attempts. He also failed in a desperate last-ditch attempt to lift 211 kgs in clean and jerk to try and overhaul Lovepreet.
This was India’s ninth medal from the Weightlifting at Birmingham and the 14th medal overall, five gold, five silver, and four bronze.
Though he had a clean series of lifts and succeeded in all six attempts, Lovepreet was totally conservative in his approach and worked with the aim of securing a bronze medal. He said that he had lifted 165 kg in snatch and 195 in clean and jerk during training at a camp in Birmingham a few weeks before the games and only did he attempt to lift 190 in a competition before and failed.
Indians normally do well in lower weight categories in weightlifting, boxing and wrestling with very little success in heavyweight and super heavyweight divisions.
That could be the reason why coaches Vijay Sharma & Co. decided to play safe and did not get Lovepreet to attempt 165 kg in snatch, which could have even had him pushing for the silver medal with 195 in final attempts.
Lovepreet started with 157 in snatch and cleared 161 and 163 in his next two attempts, which kept him in joint second position going into the clean and jerk. The lifter from Cameroon, who had 160 after snatch, started clean and jerk with 196 and then lifted 201. He failed at 205 kg in his third attempt.
Lovepreet started with 185, picked 189 in his second attempt and then upped it to 192 in his third attempt. Australia’s Roberts-Young 202 in his second attempt but failed at 211. A better snatch effort would clearly put him in contention for a medal but that was not to be and Lovepreet, who has won silver in Commonwealth Senior Championships in 2021 and gold in junior, claimed his maiden Commonwealth Games medal.