CWG: Srikanth settles for men's singles silver
Gold Coast (Australia): Indian star Kidambi Srikanth had to remain satisfied with the silver medal after losing to an inspired Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia in the men's singles badminton final at the 21st Commonwealth Games (CWG) here on Sunday.
Srikanth had a good start as he won the opening game. But the veteran Malay blew him away in the next two games as Srikanth went down 21-19, 14-21, 14-21 in an hour and five minutes.
This was the fifth CWG title of the Malaysian star's glittering career which has produced three Olympic silvers and four World Championships medals.
Sunday's contest was an absorbing battle between the World No.1 Indian and the World No.7 from Malaysia.
Srikanth troubled Lee during the initial stages with his powerful smashes. But Lee shook off his initial troubles to gradually come into own and subdue his younger rival with an awesome performance.
Alhough Lee took the early lead in the first game, Srikanth fought back to draw level at 7-7 before a couple of powerful smashes gave him a 9-7 lead.
A series of excellent rallies saw Lee take three consecutive points and take the lead at 15-14 before Srikanth drew level in very next point.
A smash into Lee's body gave Srikanth the lead at 16-15 before the Malaysian drew level yet again with a superb placement.
Srikanth took lead once again at 19-17 and although Lee drew level with back to back winners, the Indian took three consecutive points to win the first game.
That turned out to be the only bit of celebration that Srikanth and his Indian fans among the sell-out crowd will manage on the day.
Lee was on a completely different level in the next game. Srikanth had started well, taking the the lead initially.
But Lee took the lead at 11-9 and fought back some ferocious efforts by the Indian to increase his lead slowly but surely until he took the second game to draw level.
The Malaysian continued his domination in the third and final game, opening up an early lead.
Srikanth had no answer to the superb placements, quickness and accuracy of his illustrous opponent as the two rivals went into the mid game break with Lee in command of a comfortable 11-5 lead.
Lee continued to plunder points as will before closing off the game by a comfortable margin to seal the title.