DHAKA: Indian men and women bagged the team gold in badminton in the 11th South Asian Games at the Wooden Floor Gymnasium here on Monday.
With National champion Chetan Anand and Trupti Murgunde lending their experience to the side, their youthful teammates finished off both the finals against Sri Lanka in straight games.
Chetan took on Niluka, elder of the three Karunaratne brothers, and found the going tough in the beginning. The Indian champion was slow and tentative, as the Lankan, attacking fiercely, reeled off points. Chetan gathered his wits, gauged the speed of the bird and adjusted his footwork to claw back from 9-11 to gain the lead and eventually win the game.
Chetan’s play lacked sharpness at the net but his experience helped him win the crucial points well especially the last five points in both games. He won 21-12, 21-18 in 33 minutes, the longest match of the finals.
Former junior National champion R.M.V. Guru Sai Dutt was fluent and forceful. Guru Sai befuddled his rival Dinuka Karunaratne with his court craft and wristy shots. He won the first game conceding only eight points. Dinuka came out fighting in the second and the scores went neck and neck before the Indian pulled ahead from 18-18 to win the match 21-18 in one serve.
The Indian ladies began with Sayali Gokhale putting the best foot forward against Thilini S. Jayasinghe and winning the tie at 21-12, 21-18 in 23 minutes. National champion Trupti took just 23 minutes to defeat Renu Hettiarachchige 21-9, 21-13.
The results: Men’s team final: India bt Sri Lanka 3-0 (Chetan Anand bt Niluka Karunaratne 21-12, 21-18; R.M.V. Gurusaidutt bt Dinuka Karunaratne 21-8, 21-18; Aditya Raviprakash bt Nuwan D.J. Hettiarachchi 21-10, 21-15).
Women’s team final: India bt Sri Lanka 3-0 (Sayali Gokhale bt Thilini S. Jayasinghe 21-4, 21-11; Trupti Murgunde bt Renu C.D. Hettiarachchige 21-9, 21-13; P.C. Thulasi bt Achini N. Rathnasiri 21-13, 21-17). — Special Correspondent