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Asian Games

Watch: Show of sportsmanship in feisty India-Pakistan squash match as opponent picks up racquet

Asian Games 2023: Tempers often boiled over as India narrowly lost a squash match to arch-rivals Pakistan on Wednesday night, but it was good to see there was camaraderie accompanying the fierce rivalry too.

Watch: Show of sportsmanship in feisty India-Pakistan squash match as opponent picks up racquet
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Mahesh Mangaonkar picks up Nasir Iqbal's racquet and hands it back to him after a clash between the two 

By

The Bridge Desk

Updated: 27 Sep 2023 2:57 PM GMT

Tempers often boiled over as the Indian men's squash team narrowly lost to arch-rivals Pakistan at the Asian Games in Hangzhou on Wednesday night, but it was good to see there was camaraderie accompanying the fierce rivalry too.

The stage was set up for a thrilling finale after Abhay Singh had lost his tie but Saurav Ghosal had won his to take the titanic match into a deciding third tie, where Mahesh Mangaonkar would fight against Nasir Iqbal of Pakistan.

The match often looked like an actual battle, as both players put their bodies on the line in front of a vociferous crowd who had just come to realize something special was unfolding in front of them.

Mahesh managed to stay alive till the fourth set of his tie, but just as the 58-minute-long match began to show its effects on the two players, they were often seen clanging into each other and disagreeing over whose fault it was.

With two points left to go in the match, the two players clashed again, and Nasir's racquet flew out of his hands. Given the nature of the match and the position where it stood, it would have surprised no one had Mahesh looked the other way and prepared for the next point.

But as his weary opponent took a moment to regain his energy with his hands on his knees, Mahesh walked over to where his opponent's racquet had landed and gave it back to him.

Watch:

Nasir took the next two points to win his match 11-6, 13-11, 9-11, 11-8 to give Pakistan an overall 2-1 victory and an assured spot in the semifinals. India is also likely to seal a spot in the semis from Pool A if they win their match against Nepal on Thursday.

The incident-filled group match against Pakistan, however, has provided an early highlight in the squash campaign - with the enduring memory of it being Mahesh managing to remember the spirit of sports in the heat of battle.

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