SPORT

Sanave-Rupesh strike gold

On the podium:Stanislav Pukhov, the above-35 category winner, flanked by silver medallist Naruenart Chuaymak, right, and bronze medallists Felix Hoffmann, left, and Nikhil Kanetkar.Special Arrangement

On the podium:Stanislav Pukhov, the above-35 category winner, flanked by silver medallist Naruenart Chuaymak, right, and bronze medallists Felix Hoffmann, left, and Nikhil Kanetkar.Special Arrangement  

Host India celebrated a rich haul of 21 medals at the Manorama BWF World senior badminton championship at the Rajiv Gandhi indoor stadium here on Sunday.

But there was only one gold and that came through former internationals Sanave Thomas and Rupesh Kumar in the above-35 men’s doubles final, an all-India affair between the two against V. Diju and J.B.S. Vidyadhar.

The two Kerala players were a bit lucky, though. After virtually training their guns on Vidyadhar, Sanave and Diju won the opening game 21-12 but their opponents recovered well in the next (21-17) and took the match to the decider.

Diju and Vidyadhar even held a slender 9-7 lead and just when the goodly crowd warmed up anticipating a thriller, Diju injured his knee and had to retire.

“It was sad to see the match finish like this. It is a mixed feeling and I actually wanted Diju to continue,” said Rupesh.

Another highly-anticipated final, the above-40 men’s singles which featured local player K.A. Aneesh, turned out to be a big disappointment with the Kerala player unable to do nothing much against Japan’s Hosemari Fujimoto, who had figured in the 2002 Asian Games. The Japanese won 21-4, 21-9.

Meanwhile, India’s Srikant Bakshi and Navdeep Singh took the above-45 men’s doubles silver after going down to Thailand’s second-seeded Chatchai Boonmee and Wittaya Panomchai 18-21, 21-18, 15-21 while in the over-55 men’s singles final, Basant Kumar Soni lost to Pornroj Banditpisut 21-10, 21-6 as India finished with a total of four silvers and 16 bronze medals.

The match of the day was the above-35 men’s singles final between Russia’s Stanislav Pukhov and Thailand’s Naruenart Chuaymak which the former won 21-12, 21-19. Though the Russian, who had a good reach because of his height, won the opener comfortably, Chuaymak played his heart out in the next, lunging at everything thrown at him.

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