Kidambi Srikanth rallied to a thrilling win as India kept alive their hopes of winning a gold medal at the Asian Games, reaching the men’s team championships final with a 3-2 win over South Korea here on Saturday.
This is India’s maiden entry into the final of the team event at the continental showpiece.
World No.7 HS Prannoy showed nerves of steel to bounce back from an opening game reversal to outwit Jeon Hyeok Jin 18-21, 21-16, 21-19 and put India 1-0 ahead but Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty lost the first doubles 13-21, 24-26 to reigning world champions Seo Seung-Jae and Kang Min-hyuk as Korea made it 1-1.
Lakshya Sen then put India back in business with a clinical 21-7, 21-9 win over Lee Yungyu but MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila lost 16-21, 11-21 to Kim Wonho and NA Sungseung.
Srikanth, a 2021 World Championships silver medallist, then fought his way under pressure in the decider to struggle past world No. 163 Cho Geonyeop 12-21, 21-16, 21-14 and seal India’s place in the summit clash at the BJ Gymnasium.
India will look to live up to their Thomas Cup champions tag when they face multiple-time gold medallist China in the final on Sunday.
Long-distance runners Kartik Kumar and Gulveer Singh bagged a silver and bronze medal, respectively, in the men’s 10,000m race with personal best times.
Kartik won the silver with a timing of 28:15.38s while Gulveer clocked 28:17.21s to claim the bronze. Both Indians came into medal contention in the last 100 metres, after three runners fell in succession after bumping into each other. Birhanu Yemataw Balew of Bahrain won the gold medal with a timing of 28:13.62 seconds.
In the women’s 400m, Aishwarya Mishra finished fourth while Muhammed Ajmal came fifth in the men’s race.
In the 1,500m, Jinson Johnson and Ajay Kumar Saroj qualified for the final by clocking 3:56.93s and 3:51.93 seconds in their respective heats.
Jeswin Aldrin Johnson and Murali Sreeshankar leaped 7.67m and 7.97m to qualify for the final of the men’s long jump event.
In women’s 100m hurdles, Jyothi Yarraji clocked 13.03s to finish second in her heat and qualify for the final.
Preeti’s Paris berth
Boxer Preeti Pawar secured a quota for the Paris Olympics and also assured herself of a medal along with Lovlina Borgohain and Narender as they moved into the semi-finals.
The 19-year-old Preeti eked out a 4-1 win against Kazakhstan’s Zhaina Shekerbekova, a three-time World Championship medallist and reigning Asian champion, in a fiercely fought 54kg quarter final bout.
Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Lovlina defeated South Korea’s Seong Suyeon by a 5-0 unanimous decision in the women’s 75 kg category. Narender (92kg) also notched a win by a similar margin over Iman Ramezanpour Delavar of Iran to move to the last four stage.
Mirabai Chanu’s campaign ended in agony as the Olympic medallist was carried off after she fell flat on her back following a failed lift, success in which would have fetched her a bronze medal in the women’s 49kg event here on Saturday.
Chanu, who was under pressure after a disappointing snatch outing, went for a 117kg clean-and-jerk lift but failed to clear it twice.