Kidambi Srikanth was well and truly outplayed in the last two games as Lee Chong Wei turned back the years to beat his much-younger compatriot to win his third Commonwealth Games men’s singles gold in Glasgow on Sunday.
World number 1 Srikanth went into the summit clash as the favourite, having beaten the 35-year-old Chong Wei rather easily in the mixed team final a few days ago. Questions were also being asked over the fitness and motivation of the Malaysian ahead of the final.
And when Srikanth came back from a 0-5 deficit in the opening game to take a 11-9 lead in the first game, the Indian camp must have been hoping to clinch both the singles gold for the first time in the history of the Games.
Chong Wei did fight back in the opening game and ran his opponent close but Srikanth managed to pocket the first game and then regained the lead at 9-8 in the second game with a flurry of jump smashes and looked the better player.
But the Malaysian changed gears soon after the break as he started finding the lines with his smashes and showed all his defensive skills to take a 16-13 lead. He never looked back from there on.
The decider was once again a one-sided affair with Chong Wei clearly in a zone and reminding badminton lovers just why he has been such a treat to watch over the years.
He raced to a 7-1 lead and then changed ends with a six point advantage at 11-5. It was always a losing battle for Srikanth thereafter as the Malaysian was in no mood to let go of his grip on that gold medal with his fourth win over the Indian.