Indian women script historic triumph at Badminton Asia Team Championships

Indian women make history
The victorious Indian contingent celebrate their triumph. Photo: PTI

Shah Alam (Malaysia): Young Anmol Kharb once again did the star turn as Indian women beat Thailand 3-2 in a thrilling final to clinch their maiden gold medal at the Badminton Asia Team Championships here on Sunday.

The young and sprightly group of Indian women's team, led by P V Sindhu, defied all expectations as it rose to the occasion to come up trumps against two-time bronze medallists Thailand.

It, however, needs to be mentioned that like most of the teams in the competition, Thailand were not at full strength.They were without their top two singles players -- world No. 13 Ratchanok Intanon and world No. 16 Pornpawee Chochuwong.

Two-time Olympic medallist P V Sindhu, who is returning to action after a four-month injury-forced break, was back to her aggressive best as rode on her power and placement to outclass world No. 17 Supanida Katethong 21-12, 21-12 in the first singles and hand India a 1-0 lead.

World No. 23 Keralite Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand then continued their splendid run, dishing out another gritty performance to shock Norld no. 10 pair of Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Pra Jongjai 21-16, 18-21, 21-16 to put India in the driver's seat.

Playing the second singles against world No. 18 Busanan Ongbamrungphan, expectations were high from Ashmita Chaliha after her stunning win against former world champion Nozomi Okuhara of Japan on Saturday.

The Indian, who had defeated Busanan during the Singapore Open in 2022, stayed in the match till 14-14 in the second game but a string of unforced errors thereafter cost Ashmita dearly as she went down 11-21, 14-21 to the experienced Thai.

It was going to be an uphill task for young Shruti Mishra and Priya Konjengbam, the senior national champions, to tame world No. 13 combination of Benyapa Aimsaard and Nuntakarn Aimsaard and the world No 107 Indian duo expectedly lost 11-21, 9-21 in just 29 minutes.

The tie evenly poised at 2-2, Anmol again shouldered the responsibility of taking India through and she did just that with a dominating 21-14, 21-9 victory over world No. 45 Pornpicha Choeikeewong in the deciding third singles.

Soon after the win, the entire squad got into a huddle to lift Anmol as they celebrated the magnificent win at the Setia City Convention Center here.

India had won two medals in the past with the men's team claiming bronze medals in the 2016 and 2020 editions respectively. 

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