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Shuttlers launch India's gold rush

GOLDEN SHOW: Jwala Gutta proudly displays the two gold medals she won in the women's doubles and mixed doubles events. PHOTO: PTI

GOLDEN SHOW: Jwala Gutta proudly displays the two gold medals she won in the women's doubles and mixed doubles events. PHOTO: PTI  



S.R. Suryanarayan

COLOMBO: The gold rush has begun for India in right earnest in the South Asian Games. At the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium, the Indian National anthem echoed as the badminton players did what was expected of them by winning the gold medals in the individual events which concluded on Friday. The team events get underway on Saturday.

First gold

To V. Diju and Jwala Gutta, the mixed doubles pair, went the honour of winning the first gold medal of the Games. They beat teammates Thomas Kurien and Aparna Balan in straight games in what was a scene from the National championship.

The Maharashtra girl Trupti Murugunde then came on to douse B.R. Meenakshi's fight, again in straight games to win the gold medal. Trupti, who is just back from a brief lay-off following illness, was worried that the match should not drag on. "I would not have been able to sustain then," she said, happy that her job was quick and smooth for the gold.

Meenakshi won the silver, Renu Chandrika de Silva (Sri Lanka) and Sumina Shrestha (Nepal) took the bronze.

Equally facile was Chetan Anand's demolition of Nikhil Kanetkar in the final. Chetan had appeared a tad slow in earlier matches but was in complete control for the all-important tie. Gone was the hesitancy or the lax movement. Chetan finished off his job in 24 minutes.

In the process Chetan, like Trupti earlier, successfully defended his title in this regional Games. Nikhil took the silver and Zeshan Umer and Waji Ali Choudhry (both Pakistan) the bronze.

In all India won five gold, four silver and one bronze medal. The lone bronze medal going to Akshay Dewalkar & Jishnu Sanyal as men's doubles semfinalists.

The results (all finals): Men: Singles: B. Chetan Anand (Ind) bt Nikhil Kanetkar (Ind) 21-14, 21-12; Doubles: Sanave Thomas/ Rupesh Kumar (Ind) bt Thushara Eldirisinghe/ Duminda Jayakody (SL) 21-16, 21-10.

Women: Singles: Trupti Murugunde (Ind) bt B.R. Meenakshi (Ind) 2-17, 21-14; Doubles: Jwala Gutta/ Sruthi Kurien (Ind) bt B.R. Meenakshi/ Aparna Balan (Ind) 18-21, 23-21, 21-12

Mixed doubles: V. Diju/ Jwala Gutta (Ind) bt Thomas Kurien/Aparna Balan (Ind) 21-11, 21-13.



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