Anmol seals historic win as India clinch maiden Badminton Asia Team Championships title

February 18, 2024
17-year-old Anmol Kharb on Sunday proved to be India’s trump card yet again and sealed a historic win as the Indian women's team clinched its first-ever Badminton Asia Team Championships

Shah Alam, Feb 18 (IANS) 17-year-old Anmol Kharb on Sunday proved to be India’s trump card yet again and sealed a historic win as the Indian women’s team clinched its first-ever Badminton Asia Team Championships title after beating Thailand 3-2 in the final, here on Sunday.

Anmol, who is ranked 472 in the world, beat 42nd-ranked Pornpicha Choeikeewong in the deciding rubber to hand India a thrilling victory.

It was the two-time Olympic medallist PV Sindhu, who kicked off the Indian title charge in style, beating the 17th-ranked Supanida Katethong 21-12, 21-12.

Sindhu thoroughly outperformed her opponent, securing victory in just 39 minutes. This marked Sindhu’s fifth triumph in eight encounters against Katethong.

The women’s duo of Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand, who had consistently delivered outstanding performances throughout the tournament, once again rose to the occasion and doubled the lead for India.

The Indian pair, ranked 23rd, caused an upset by defeating the 10th-ranked Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai with a score of 21-16, 18-21, 21-16.

Treesa-Gayatri began with a clear game plan of pinning their opponents to the back court and attacking at every opportunity they got to clinch the opening game. But it was the superior defence of the Thai pairing that helped them claw their way back in the match and it led to the Indians making some uncharacteristic errors.

But to their credit, Treesa and Gayatri hung in when things weren’t really going their way and managed to turn around a 6-10 deficit in the decider to draw level at 14-14. They then won five straight points from 15-all to earn five match-point opportunity. They converted the second one to finish with an all-win record in the competition.

Then, the Thai team staged a fightback when Busanan Ongbamrungphan trounced Ashmita Chaliha 21-11, 21-14 in the second singles rubber. Later, women’s doubles national champions Priya Konjengbam and Shruti Mishra went down 11-21, 9-21 against Benyapa and Nuntakarn Aimsaard sister and the match went into the deciding rubber.

It again came down to Anmol to win the deciding point for the team and the 17-year-old once again delivered in style. She took time to get used to Pornpicha Choeikeewong’s power game and trailed 4-6 in the opening game but once she started controlling the rallies there was no stopping her.

She ultimately wrapped up the match 21-14, 21-9 to send the entire team in frenzied celebrations.

Congratulating the team on the title triumph, Badminton Association of India secretary Sanjay Mishra said: “It is a proud moment for all of us. It also underlined the depth of badminton talent in India and we are confident that this bunch of players will win many more titles in the coming years.”


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