Commonwealth Games 2022: Happy ending as shuttlers put up golden service

Sindhu, Lakshya and doubles pair of Satwiksairaj & Chirag win on final day to help shuttlers finish on top in Birmingham.

Published: 09th August 2022 12:51 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th August 2022 12:51 AM   |  A+A-

India's Venkata Sindhu Pusarla celebrates with a coach Tae Sang Park after winning in the Women's singles badminton at the Commonwealth Games. (Photo | AP)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: It may sound cliche, but the Games did end on a high. The shuttlers ensured there were no surprises on Monday when they won three gold. PV Sindhu displayed her class and big-game temperament to open India's gold account. Lakshya Sen showed his ability to survive clutch moments while the ever-rising doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty smashed their way into history books.

Sindhu was the first to take the court and she was the favourite, given her past accomplishments. Up against Michelle Li, a Canadian shuttler who had beaten her during the semifinals of the 2014 edition, Sindhu looked hungry. Playing with heavy straps just above her left ankle, there were concerns if that would hinder Sindhu. But those concerns were put to bed as soon as she floated around the court to engage in rallies and force Li to make errors. Sindhu continued with that game plan and was finding success, much to the joy of many badminton fans including Indians who had turned up in large numbers at the NEC Hall 5, Birmingham. Li did manage to pull back a point or two with some silky play but that was in short supply.

The second game was the same with Sindhu relying on her big-stage nous. The Indian was willing to engage in rallies and employed some sharp shots to kill those rallies and control the game. As Sindhu continued to collect points, Li could only offer a resigned smile. In the end, Sindhu, who won 21-15, 21-13, got over the line with a perfect cross-court smash on the right. This gold comes after silver and bronze in the last two editions (2014, 2018). Saina Nehwal was the other woman player to have won gold at the event.

"In my opinion, she is better than all other entries and she was expected to win. But these are pressure situations, she handled them well. She had a tough outing during the quarterfinals, but she managed to survive. As an athlete, she has won everything. She has done great for the country and has been very consistent. I'm pleased for her," U Vimal Kumar, former national chief coach, told this daily.

Fighting win

While Sindhu handled the pressure well, Lakshya, battling for the first CWG gold, seemed edgy at the start against NG Tze Yong of Malaysia. Tze Yong, who had beaten Kidambi Srikanth in the semifinals, was just the opposite and seemed to be ready for the big occasion. Both were involved in some high-quality badminton but it was Tze Yong, with his cleverness in front of the net and some disguised shot, who pocketed the first game. Lakshya was more assertive in the second game and after some big cross-court smashes, he was in control. Tze, on the other hand, seemed fatigued and Lakshya was on level terms in no time.

It was down to the third game. There was plenty of pressure on both. But this was Lakshya's territory. Over the past year or so, Lakshya has thrived in demanding situations to make headlines. Tze Yong gave it all and like the first game, they were involved in some fast-paced rallies, which saw some superhuman reflex returns from both.  

"I liked the way Lakshya played. More than the quality of the match, how he dealt with pressure situations. One good thing Lakshya did was he did not allow his rival to push the pace. He was dictating play (second and third game) and that helped. He was always a few points ahead," Vimal said.

Mental fortitude

Apart from help from coaches at Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy (PPBA), being in regular touch with sports psychologist, Gayatri Vartak, is something that has boosted Lakshya's overall development, according to Vimal. "He has been in regular touch with her. They interact a lot and that helps him to a big extent. He's become a star and a lot of people expect big things from him. So that has made a huge difference," Vimal, who's part of PPBA, said.

Historic return

Satwiksairaj and Chirag made it a perfect day with a polished performance against Sean Vendy and Ben Lane of the host nation. Like Sindhu, the Indian pair asserted play with some powerful hits. The match also witnessed some high-quality action with the second game producing a 61-shot rally, which saw players from each side change their racquets mid-way.  

After reaching the finishing line (final score 21-15, 21-13), both Chirag and Satwik were understandably animated. Satwik even showed his peppy dance in front of the camera. All that highlighted the significance of the duo's win. The duo became India's first men's doubles pair to claim the gold. 

The performance of the shuttlers bodes well ahead of the all-important World Championships, which is due to be held later this month.


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp