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Monday, Sep 26, 2022

CWG 2022: ‘Srikanth anna was distraught… It was painful to see him cry’, Satwik after final loss vs Malaysia

Perhaps the greatest takeaway from this silver would be how India's highly fancied shuttlers viewed this as a failure rather than shrugging off the poor day, and accepting the silver.

Srikanth Kidambi, CWG 2022A detailed view of the necklace of India's Srikanth Kidambi during the Badminton Team Gold Medal match, at The NEC on day five of 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, Tuesday Aug. 2, 2022. (Bradley Collyer/PA via AP)

A gold medal miss rubbed into their face by a wildly celebrating Malaysian team might just prove a trigger for renewed focus for four of India’s Thomas Cup winning heroes, who were humbled 3-1 going down at the National Exhibition Centre Arena in Tuesday’s CWG Mixed Team final.

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy later said he had never seen Kidambi Srikanth cry in his life, like when the latter took the blame for India’s loss, his error-strewn third set against Ng Tze Yong, sending India 2-1 down in the finals tie. Earlier, Satwik and Chirag Shetty too had lost to Aaron Chia – Wooi Soh 21-18, 21-15, prompting Satwik to share in the responsibility for India not being able to defend this title.

“Srikanth anna was so distraught. But it’s not just his mistake though he’s blaming himself. Even I lost a match,” Satwik said, owning up to lapses that cost India a gold after a 19-21, 21-6, 21-16 loss.

Srikanth Kidambi India’s Srikanth Nammalwar Kidambi leaves the court after losing the Badminton Men’s Singles game against Malaysia’s Mas Tze Yong NG at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

Later PV Sindhu informed that India had pencilled in men’s singles as a likely win for Srikanth giving them a two point cushion from singles. While the trio’s two losses hastened the process, India were up against a very strong Malaysian doubles unit, and always iffy in a 2-3 singles-doubles split of points.

There were those who believed Lakshya Sen could’ve played instead – and a bold call it could have been. But Ng was on fire and how the younger Indian shuttler might have responded remains hypothetical, with the doubles still in doubt and no guarantees of those points. For Satwik, what was abundantly clear was that just like the Thomas Cup was a joint success, this was a collective setback. A failure, to put it bluntly, given Satwik wasn’t backing away from calling it that.

Perhaps the greatest takeaway from this silver would be how India’s highly fancied shuttlers viewed this as a failure rather than shrugging off the poor day, and accepting the silver.

“Gayatri and Treesa were very disappointed after their loss and Treesa cried too. I’m happy that the pain was there. This has really fired us up, especially Chirag and Srikanth Anna. This is not the end for us and maybe the tough losses will push us to bigger results. Maybe Srikanth will win World Championship gold! Everyday is a first day,” Satwik would avow.

Satwik Sairaj Rankireddy and Chandrashekhar Shetty, India’s Satwik Sairaj Rankireddy and India’s Chandrashekhar Shetty, right, speak during the Badminton Men’s Doubles game against Malaysia’s Aaron Chia Teng Fong and Malaysia’s Soh Wooi Yik at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

Satwik has a bunch of superstitions, one amongst which is he refuses to watch Srikanth play, because it drives him to anxiety. “Actually any Indian athletes. Today morning I couldn’t watch the weightlifting girl. It’s so easy to play your own match in comparison. I walked out when Srikanth anna started, but I could still hear the score in big TV so I put loud music. It was so irritating. Then it was painful to watch him cry,” he would say candidly admitting to be one right chicken, as a fan.

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As such, the 18-15 lead in the opening set the Indian pairing botched disastrously, conceded the momentum, and they never found their way back. The Malaysians, hurting from the 2018 CWG loss and Thomas Cup quarters ouster, came in with a definite edge and a point to prove. Though PV Sindhu won her match 22-20, 21-17 – after a 19-all slouch – in straight sets against Goh Jin Wei, the two losses up front left little margins for womens and mixed doubles.

“I definitely wanted to win gold. We were going in as a strong team, and needed to be consistent. I really wanted to contribute one point to India’s win. It’s been a while since I lost a team tie, but unfortunately i couldn’t win today,” Srikanth would say later.

At 9-8 in the third, after a typical slow Srikanth start and a subsequent rally to level sets, the 29-year-old hit to the Malaysian’s backhand. When under the pump, Srikanth could simply not stem his errors, and it made matters worse for him that the Malaysian was riding a wave of confidence, drawing for the noisy support. India barely had any fans in the arena, and the listlessness mirrored on the courts.

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Coach Mathias Boe fronting up the media, was categorical that noone was happy with the silver. “Hopefully it can get a little bit of anger out of people to respond in the individual event now. And increase the thirst for gold in coming days,” he said. “They need to digest this,” he added.

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There was unanimity that the Indians lacked massively in staying composed, made amateurish errors and the Malaysians held their nerve better. “A little more calm,” he urged. And a lot more anger to make good the revised saying: lose some, win many, as many as five gold medals come up for the taking in coming days.

First published on: 03-08-2022 at 07:27:25 am
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