Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty clinched India’s first ever badminton gold medal at the Asian Games, powering 21-18 21-16 past Choi Sol Gyu/Kim Won Ho in the Hangzhou 2022 men’s doubles final on Saturday at Binjiang Gymnasium.
“After silver in the team event, we really wanted this. Most importantly, we wanted to hear the Indian national anthem being played,” said Shetty.
The pair credited their success to coach Mathias Boe, a men’s doubles silver medallist at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
“Since he came into our lives, he’s made such positive changes and we owe our consistent progress to him,” said Rankireddy.
The mixed doubles final featured Tokyo 2020 silver and bronze medallists – Zheng Si Wei/Huang Ya Qiong and Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino. And the Chinese again stood a step higher on the podium than their Japanese rivals.
“We gave it our best shot but couldn’t keep up. I just wasn’t fast enough with my footwork,” said Higashino.
An all-Chinese men’s singles final ended with a win for the younger, more energetic Li Shi Feng, leaving silver to Shi Yu Qi.
China picked up another gold when Chen Qing Chen/Jia Yi Fan defeated Baek Ha Na/Lee So Hee 21-18 21-17 in women’s doubles.
Women’s singles world champion An Se Young ticked off another box on her ‘to win’ list, this time the Asian Games gold.
An struggled with an injured knee for a gruelling 90 minutes before triumphing 21-18 17-21 21-8 in 90 minutes over Tokyo 2020 gold medallist Chen Yu Fei.
“I’ve waited five years for this medal,” said An. “I’ve trained and played with this pain but it was all worth it in the end.”