BATC 2024: Indian women create history by reaching semis, men go down to Japan

February 16, 2024
The Indian women’s team made history in the Badminton Asia Team Championship (BATC) 2024 by securing a maiden semifinals berth

New Delhi, Feb 16 (IANS) The Indian women’s team made history in the Badminton Asia Team Championship (BATC) 2024 by securing a maiden semifinals berth while the men went down to Japan in the quarterfinals on a mixed day for the Indian teams in Selangor, Malaysia, on Friday.

The focus was on the women’s team, considered by many as the weaker of the two squads because of the inclusion of some new players, belied expectations as it blanked Hong Kong 3-0 to storm into the semifinals for the first time in the history of the competition. The men went down 2-3 against Japan in a hard-fought encounter, missing out on a place in the semifinals.

The Indian women’s team, which had upset China on Tuesday to top Group W, capitalised on a favourable quarterfinal draw with two-time Olympic medallist P.V Sindhu once again leading the charge. Sindhu, who is returning after a long injury-induced layoff, started strong against Lo Sin Yan Happy but had to regroup herself after a second-game hiccup to win 21-7, 16-21, 21-12 to give India the lead.

Sindhu began the match with a bang winning 11 of the first 12 points and sailed through the opening game. But if she was hoping for an easy outing, Lo had other plans. The Hong Kong shuttler used her deceptive strokes to trouble her opponent and forced a decider. In the final game, Sindhu was just too strong for her opponent as she once again started aggressively and never looked in trouble.

The women’s doubles combination of Tanisha Crasto and Ashwini Ponnappa then proved that they were the pair in form as they got the better of the world No.18 combination of Yeung Nga Ting and Yeung Pui Lam 21-10, 21-14 to put India within striking distance of the semi-final spot.

Ashmita Chaliha then wrapped up the quarterfinal encounter with a 21-12, 21-13 win over Yeung Sum Yee. Assured of a medal, India will now face top seeds Japan, who defeated China 3-2 in the other quarterfinals.

However, it was a heart-break for the men as they came within striking distance of a semifinal spot but two-time former world champion Kento Momota found a way to take his team through, beating Kidambi Srikanth in the third singles.

With the team locked 2-2, all eyes were on the third and final singles between two former world No.1 Kidambi Srikanth and Kento Momota. Srikanth drew first blood by claiming the opening game before the Japanese fought back to force a decider.

It looked like India were through to the semifinal when Srikanth opened up a 19-12 lead but Momota forced his way back by winning eight straight points. The Indian managed to save one match point but could not stop the Japanese from taking the match in an hour and 17 minutes.

Results (quarterfinals):

Women: India bt Hong Kong 3-0 (PV Sindhu bt Lo Sin Yan Happy 21-7, 16-21, 21-12; Tanisha Crasto/Ashwini Ponnappa bt Yeung Nga Ting/Yeung Pui Lam 21-10, 21-14; Ashmita Chaliha bt Yeung Sum Yee 21-12, 21-13)

Men: India lost to Japan 2-3 (HS Prannoy lost to Kenta Nishimoto 16-21, 24-26; Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Chirag Shetty bt Kenya Mitsuhashi/Hiroki Okamura 21-15, 21-17; Lakshya Sen bt Koki Watanabe 21-19, 22-20; MR Arjun/Dhruv Kapila lost to Akira Koga/Kazuki Shibata 17-21, 15-21; Kidambi Srikanth lost to Kento Momota 21-17, 9-21, 20-22).


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