Asian Games: Why it’s not yet time to celebrate India’s medal in men’s team badminton

The Indian badminton team beat minnows Nepal 3-0 in the quarters, to win a medal in men’s team after 37 years.

asian games asian games badminton india at asian games kidambi srikanth lakshya sen mithun manjunath

They say that no medal at the Asian Games level comes easy. Well, that might hold true for 90 percent of the times, but for the other 10, one has to see how Team India assured themselves of a bronze medal in the men’s team event in badminton on Friday. Playing Nepal in the quarters, the Indians were a far superior team and won the tie 3-0, to confirm a medal after a gap of 37 years.

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But in all fairness, the medal did come without any sort of a fight. Prior to this, India did not have to play any other game, as they got a bye in the Round of 16. Call it good luck, but in a field consisting of Indonesia, South Korea, China, Japan, Hong Kong, and Chinese Taipei, India was pitted against Nepal. The Indian team with the likes of Kidambi Srikanth, HS Prannoy, Lakshya Sen, the pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/ Chirag Shetty, and others, played a solitary tie against little-known Nepal to book the medal.

In the round of 16, where India was exempted, Korea beat Malaysia 3-1, Hong Kong thrashed Thailand 3-2, and Japan posted a win over Singapore 3-0. In the quarters, Indonesia was up against Korea, Hong Kong vs Japan, and China vs Chinese Taipei in other matches. Had India been placed against any of these teams, the result could have perhaps been different.

lakshya sen

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The Indian team, who had won the Thomas Cup in 2022, is fully capable of beating any team they face. They have some of the best players in the world and a former WR-1 Srikanth in their ranks. As many as three singles players have won World Championship medals. So when Lakshya beat Prince Dahal, WR-318, their only player on the BWF rankings in men’s singles, it should probably not be celebrated. It is for the same reason Srikanth’s win over Sunil Joshi should probably not be celebrated.

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And it is for the same reason that Mithun Manjunath’s win over Bishnu Katuwal should not be celebrated. Although the players did after all put in the effort to win, but crediting them for an unimportant tie like this takes a bit of sheen away from their stature. Now, in the semis, India will play either South Korea or Indonesia, and a victory there is what the fans should be looking out for. A win there would be a true testament to our prowess in badminton.

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