Birmingham: Badminton star PV Sindhu and men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty added a gold medal to the silver they won four years back while Lakshya Sen won the men’s singles for complete domination of the individual competitions as India ended the Commonwealth Games here with a flourish on Monday.
Sindhu played aggressively, controlled the rallies well and did not give her opponent many chances as she won 21-15, 21-13 in the final.
“I was waiting for this gold for a long time, so I am super happy,” said Sindhu in her on-court comments after raising her fist to acknowledge the sparse crowd.
This is Sindhu’s second medal of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games after winning a silver in the Mixed Team competition. She had won gold and silver in Gold Coast.
Sharath Kamal triumphs
At age of 40, Sharath Kamal turned the clock back to win the men’s singles table tennis title after 16 years to cap a memorable four-medal haul; The men’s hockey team’s disastrous 0-7 thrashing by World No 1 Australia was a bit of a dampener but the silver they won was still a gain as India had failed to win a single medal in hockey at the Gold Coast edition in 2018.
G Sathiyan, India’s highest-ranked table tennis player picked up a bronze medal in men’s singles to add to the gold in men’s team competition and silver in men’s doubles.
India thus ended its campaign in the 22nd edition of the Commonwealth Games with a total of 61 medals — 22 gold, 16 silver, and 23 bronze medals.
The 61 medals that its sportspersons bagged in Birmingham meant that India finished fourth in the medals table, behind Australia (178), England (176), and Canada (92).
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty too claimed a maiden men’s doubles gold, living up to their ranking as the world’s seventh best pair. They defeated Ben Lane and Sean Vendy of England in straight games — 21-15, 21-13.
Lakshya Sen, the highest-ranked Indian player in the BWF rankings. made a brilliant comeback after losing the first set to beat Tze Yong Ng of Malaysia, 19-21, 21-9, 21-16 to win his second medal at Birmingham.
Sen, in his maiden Commonwealth Games, added the gold to the silver he won in the mixed team competition. This was the first time that India claimed both the men’s singles and women’s singles titles in the same Commonwealth Games edition. He also became the fourth Indian after Prakash Padukone, Syed Modi, and Parupalli Kashyap to win the men’s singles title at the Commonwealth Games.
For some time, it looked like Sen would not join this list after he lost the first game.
The turning point of the match was the second set when Lakshya took the early lead. He won 11 points in a row as he moved the Malaysian player around and controlled the rhythm of the match. He played aggressively and did not make many mistakes.
The Malaysian player’s game too went down a notch and he committed a few errors. “The turning point was the second game of the match where I took the lead. I was playing well and a bit more patiently. That gave me a lot of confidence throughout the third game,” said Sen.
After he won the second set, Sen took control of the third game too. He got a three-point lead and maintained an upper hand. “There was a big change in the shuttle. I think I kept a good length from the other end of the court from where I started, and in the second game I was in control. Then I got a three-point lead in the third and it turned out to be enough.”