India won the silver medal in the badminton mixed team event at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham as Malaysia pipped the defending champions 3-1 in the final to reclaim gold on Tuesday.
The 2018 winners, who had made an unbeaten run to the final, saw two-time Olympic medallist and former world champion PV Sindhu win her women’s singles match. But the men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, Srikanth Kidambi in men’s singles, and the women’s doubles pair of Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand all suffered defeats.
Satwik and Chirag were first up in the tie and the duo was up against Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik, the top seeds in men’s doubles event to come and Olympic bronze medallists. The first game was a tight affair with the Indians keeping pace and being cheered on by their teammates, but the Malaysians pulled ahead eventually and took a lead in the match. The second game was competitive too but Chia and Soh managed to complete a 21-18, 21-15 win. This extended their perfect H2H against the Indian pairs, with five wins in five matches.
Sindhu then brought India back in the tie by defeating two-time former junior world champion Goh Jin Wei in straight games. The world No 7 had to face a stern test with the 22-year-old Malaysian maintaining a high level throughout the match after a slow start. But the Indian used her experience and showed great composure in closing out a hard-fought 22-20, 21-17 victory.
Then came perhaps the most crucial match of the tie – Srikanth vs Ng Tze Yong. With the young pair of Treesa and Gayatri scheduled to play the fourth match, the onus was on the former world No 1 from India to give his team the lead. But despite fighting hard, he suffered a 19-21, 21-6, 16-21 defeat against an inspired Ng.
Srikanth, who was picked ahead of Lakshya Sen for the match, had defeated Tze Yong twice earlier this year, which included a win during the historic Thomas Cup triumph, but the world No 42 from Malaysia played close to his best to earn a gritty win this time around.
Finally, Treesa and Gayatri too put up a brave fight but it wasn’t enough as women’s doubles top seeds Pearly Tan and Thinaah Muralitharan completed a 21-18, 21-17 win to help Malaysia win the gold medal. The team that held a stranglehold on the team title for a few editions before India’s triumph in 2018, took the gold medal back.