The Indian badminton team continued its impressive run in the Mixed Team competition, defeating Sri Lanka 5-0 in a preliminary round Group A match here remaining on course for a place in the quarterfinals, at the NEC Hall No. 5 here on Saturday.
The Indian coaches rotated the players and gave rest to Kidambi Srikanth and P.V Sindhu after their comfortable wins against Pakistan. But the result was the same — another romp against a weak team for the defending champions from the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.
The mixed doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa set the ball rolling by outplaying Sri Lanka’s Sachin Dias and Thilini Hendahewa 21-14, 21-8. The World Championship bronze medallist Lakshya Sen took the court next and demolished Nikula Karunaratne 2-0, winning 21-18, 21-5 to make it 2-0 for India.
Aakarshi Kashyap won 21-3, 21-9 in the women’s singles against Sri Lanka’s Vidara Suhasni Vidanage to make it 3-0 and give India an unbeatable lead. The makeshift men’s doubles combine of B Sumeeth Reddy and Chirag Shetty did not break a sweat in beating Dumindu Abeywickrama and Sachin Dias 21-10, 21-13 in double quick time to make it 4-0. The women’s doubles pair of Treesa Jolly and Pullela Gayatri Gopichand sealed the 5-0 romp for the top seeds and favourites to retain their gold medal.
It was a good outing for Team India ahead of the tougher encounters in the knockout rounds, as the coaches worked out various combinations and tested the players.
India will round off their preliminary round campaign with their final Group A match against Australia later in the evening. With another victory, India will seal the top spot in Group A and make it to the quarterfinals.
Meanwhile, in other events on Saturday, Indian cyclist Meenakshi failed to make it to the medal rounds in the women’s 3000m Individual Pursuit. Meenakshi finished 15th and last with a timing of 3:49.598 and an average speed of 47.039kms in a field from which the fastest two riders qualified for the gold medal race while the third and fourth fastest contested for bronze.
In the men’s marathon, India’s Nitendra Singh Rawat came up with a below-par performance and finished 12th overall with a timing of 2:19.22.
Rawat has a personal best of 2:16.05 but on Saturday, he failed to come anywhere close to that effort as he finished eight minutes and 27 behind gold medallist Uganda’s Victor Kiplangat, who won the race in 2:10:55. Alphonce Felix Simbu of Tanzania took the silver medal in 2:12.29 while Kenya’s Michael Mugo Githae took bronze in 2:13.23.
In squash, India’s Ramit Tandon gave Jamaica’s Christopher Binnie a walkover in their Men’s Singles, Round of 32 match at the University Hockey and Squash Centre. The reason for Tandon’s pull-out was not known. It was also not clear whether he will participate in the Men’s Doubles competition.