Kashyap clinches historic gold, India finish fifth at CWG 2014
However, the quest for a hockey gold remained unfulfilled as the men’s team went down tamely 0-4 to title holders and world champions Australia in the final. Likewise, the women’s doubles combo of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa too had to be content with a silver medal after going down 17-21, 21-23 to Vivian Kah Mun Hoo and Khe Wei Woon of Malaysia.
Kashyap stole the limelight by becoming the first Indian male shuttler in 32 years to win a gold in Commonwealth Games. The shuttler from Hyderabad joined badminton legend Prakash Padukone and the late Syed Modi, who won the title in 1978 and 1982, respectively. A bronze-medallist at the Delhi Games, Kashyap rose to the occasion and played a sensational game of nerves to eke out a breath-taking 21-14, 11-21, 21-19 triumph over Derek Wong of Singapore in the final showdown.
Rewriting Commonwealth Games’ badminton history, Parupalli Kashyap won India’s third men’s singles gold on Sunday but Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa failed to defend their women’s doubles title they won four years ago at home.
Second seed Kashyap emulated former champions Prakash Padukone (1978) and Syed Modi (1982) to clinch his first major championship by defeating Singaporean sixth seed Zi Liang Derek Wong to turn the bronze he won four years ago in New Delhi into a gold. The 27-year-old won 21-14, 11-21, 21-19 in just over an hour at the Emirates Arena.
Much was expected from Jwala and Ashwini but they could not replicate their gold medal-winning performance of 2010 and had to settle for the silver, losing the final 17-21, 21-23 in 41 minutes to Malaysian second seeds Vivian Kah Mun Hoo and Khe Wei Woon.
Earlier, World No.22 Kashyap took off well with a 5-2 lead which he comfortably extended to 11-7 at the first-game break. Wong was no match for Kashyap whose speed and agility was too hot to handle as he raced away to seal the game in just 15 minutes. However, the World No.40 upped the ante in the second game and immediately took a 6-2 lead which he extended to 11-6 by the mid-game break. Wong was so dominant in the second game that he won 10 of the next 15 points to level the match. It was neck-and-neck in the decider but that did not stop both shuttlers from playing aggressively. It remained extremely close until Kashyap took the lead for the first time in the game (15-14) since leading 4-3 at the start. Buoyed by a large Indian support base who were cheering for Kashyap with shouts of ‘India jeetega’, the former World No.6 gained momentum and extended the lead to 19-16.
Kashyap displayed some nervy moments when he lost three consecutive points to make it 19-all but he stuck it out to win the next two points and clinch the gold. Earlier, Indian fifth seed RMV Gurusaidutt had claimed the bronze Saturday in a playoff by overcoming England’s third seed Rajiv Ouseph. Hyderabadi PV Sindhu had also won the women’s singles bronze after winning her playoff on Saturday.