Badminton | Satwik-Chirag ensure India’s first men’s doubles medal at World Championships

Having assured themselves of at least a bronze, Satwik and Chirag will now face the Malaysian pair of Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik

August 26, 2022 10:49 am | Updated 06:24 pm IST - Tokyo:

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty celebrate after winning their badminton game of the men’s doubles quarterfinal against Japan’s Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi in the BWF World Championships in Tokyo, on Friday, August 26, 2022.

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty celebrate after winning their badminton game of the men’s doubles quarterfinal against Japan’s Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi in the BWF World Championships in Tokyo, on Friday, August 26, 2022. | Photo Credit: AP

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty on Friday scripted history by becoming the first Indian pair to win a medal in men’s doubles competition at the World Championships after upsetting world number 2 Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi of Japan in the quarterfinals in Tokyo.

The world number 7 Indian combination, which had claimed the Commonwealth Games gold medal earlier this month, outwitted the local favourites and defending champions 24-22 15-21 21-14 in an hour and 15 minutes to claim its maiden medal at the prestigious tournament.

It was India’s second World Championships medal in the doubles event with Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa claiming a bronze way back in 2011 in the women’s doubles.

Having assured themselves of at least a bronze, Satwik and Chirag will now face the sixth seeded Malaysian pair of Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik in the semifinals.

Earlier, M. R. Arjun and Dhruv Kapila’s fine run came to an end after the Indian pair lost to three-time gold medallists Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan in another men’s doubles quarterfinals.

The unseeded Indian duo, which had some sensational wins this week, lost 8-21 14-21 to the third seeded Indonesian pair in less than 30 minutes.

The Indians had earlier defeated eighth seeds Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen of Denmark in the second round.

Indian duo had work cut out for them

Satwik and Chirag came out with a lot of intent as they dominated the proceedings early on to establish a lead of 12-5 in the first game but the Japanese pair reeled off seven points on the trot to eke out a 16-14 advantage.

However, the Indian duo was up for the task as it fought tooth and nail to ensure it had the advantage after the opening game.

Takuro and Yugo made a strong comeback in the second game after breaking off at 9-9 following a tight battle.

With the match hanging in balance, the Indian pair once again found its bearings as the two strengthened their defence and mounted an attack to lead 11-5 at the interval.

Satwik and Chirag then extended the lead to 14-8 when the Indians were called for a fault for touching the net during a return. The duo lost the point but soon managed to put that behind, leading 16-9.

Yugo produced some sensational shots, including a powerful smash and a cross court return, to keep the Japanese duo’s chances alive with three points.

Two shots going wide from the Japanese duo put India a couple of points away from the win at 19-13.

The Indians then grabbed seven match points with another superb return which their opponents failed to negotiate.

A tad nervous, Satwik faltered on his serve next but Yugo sent the shuttle to the net as Chirag let out a cry in celebration.

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