Updated February 18th, 2024 at 17:37 IST

Badminton Asia Team Championships: Indian women led by PV Sindhu clinch historic gold

Anmol Kharb once again delivered when it mattered, winning the decisive fifth rubber to lead the Indian women to a historic Badminton Asia Team Championships.

BATC | Image:@Sportsbypahadi/x
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Anmol Kharb once again delivered when it mattered, winning the decisive fifth rubber to lead the Indian women to a historic Badminton Asia Team Championships triumph with a 3-2 victory over a depleted Thailand on Sunday. The young, swift Indian women's team, captained by the veteran, PV Sindhu, left no stone unturned to defeat Thailand in the final.

Anmol Kharb on securing the Gold for India

Following the win, a delighted Anmol expressed the joy of winning the Gold Medal.

"I'm very happy that we bagged the gold medal because this is the first time India are winning the gold at the Badminton Asia Team Championships," Anmol said after the match.

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"It is a big thing because history has been scripted here. Yesterday (after the semifinal win) it went crazy in India because beating powerhouses like Japan and China was such a big thing. Today, it will be full-on celebration in India and in the team as well.

"I wanted to play my 100 per cent but there was no pressure on me at all. We were confident of winning the fifth match." It is the first-ever major title for Indian women in team championships and provides a big boost to the side ahead of the Uber Cup, which is set to be held in Chengdu, China from April 28 to May 5.

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PV Sindhu leads India to another glory

India had won two medals in the past with the men's team claiming bronze medals in the 2016 and 2020 editions.

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Though like most of the teams in the competition, Thailand were not at full strength, they still had higher-ranked players in their side.
Thailand were without their top two singles players -- world No. 13 Ratchanok Intanon and Pornpawee Chochuwong, who is ranked 16th in the world.

Two-time Olympic medallist Sindhu provided India a confident start, riding on her power and placement to outclass world number 17 Supanida Katethong 21-12, 21-12 in the first singles and hand India a 1-0 lead.
World No. 23 Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand then dished out another gritty performance to shock the world number 10 pair of Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Pra Jongjai 21-16, 18-21, 21-16 to put India in the driver's seat.

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Playing the second singles against world ranked 18 Busanan Ongbamrungphan, expectations were high from Ashmita Chaliha after her stunning win against former world champion Nozomi Okuhara on Saturday.

The Indian, who had defeated Busanan during the Singapore Open in 2022, stayed in the match till 14-14 in the second game but a string of unforced errors thereafter cost Ashmita dearly as she went down 11-21, 14-21 against her experienced rival.

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Young Shruti Mishra and Priya Konjengbam, the senior national champions, then lost 11-21, 9-21 to the world number 13 combination of Benyapa Aimsaard and Nuntakarn Aimsaard to leave the tie evenly poised at 2-2.

Anmol then shouldered the responsibility of taking India through once again, producing a dominating 21-14, 21-9 victory over world number 45 Pornpicha Choeikeewong in the deciding third singles.
"It's a big achievement at 17 years old. Now I have to train harder to beat tougher opponents," she said.

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Soon after the win, the entire squad got into a huddle to lift Anmol, celebrating the magnificent win at the Setia City Convention Centre.
"It is a great moment for Indian badminton. I give a lot of credit to these youngsters. They displayed great spirit, they were supporting each other and the atmosphere was just like it was when India won the Thomas Cup. So this is a special moment for India," former India coach Vimal Kumar told PTI.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Published February 18th, 2024 at 17:36 IST