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Anmol Kharb powers India to historic gold at Badminton Asia Team Championships

India defeated Thailand 3-2 in the final to clinch the maiden title at the Badminton Asia Team Championships in Malaysia.

Anmol Kharb powers India to historic gold at Badminton Asia Team Championships

Anmol Kharb (in the middle) won the deciding match in the final of the Badminton Asia Team Championships.


Pritish Raj

Updated: 19 Feb 2024 4:54 AM GMT

As Pornpicha Choeikeewong of Thailand saw her shot sailing past the baseline, the Indian bench jumped in jubilation while Anmol Kharb ran to national coach Pullela Gopichand to give a high-five with a broad smile on her face.

The 17-year-old has just created history by powering India to its first-ever gold medal at the Badminton Asia Team Championships.

She was instantly swarmed by her teammates with Treesa Jolly lifting her immediately and the team breaking into celebratory chants.

Ranked world number 472, Anmol Kharb decimated world number 45 Pornpicha Choeikeewong after both teams were tied at 2-2 in the final of the Badminton Asia Team Championships.

This is the third instance of Anmol winning the decider in this tournament, which was also her first international assignment at the senior level. She started with a group stage clash against China where she got better of Wu Luo Yu.

In the semifinals against Japan, she defeated another higher-ranked player Natsuki Nidaira, world no. 29.

The Indian women's team displayed immense grit as youngsters punched above their wait to clinch the title for the country.

PV Sindhu started the proceedings as she got better of Supanida Katethong in the first match in straight games. Returning from an injury-forced layoff, Sindhu looked at ease and defeated Katethong 21-12, 21-12. Katethong was the same player against whom Sindhu had suffered the injury during her second-round French Open match in October 2023.

In the first women's doubles match, Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand, the world no. 23, had to fight hard but they eventually got better of the world no. 10 Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Pranjongjai.

The Indian pair defeated world number 10 Kititharakul and Pranjongjai 21-16, 18-21, 21-16 in the match that lasted for 73 minutes.

Youngster Ashmita Chaliha, who defeated former world champion Nozomi Okuhara in the semifinals, couldn't maintain consistency as she lost against experienced Busanan Ongbamrungkphan 11-21, 14-21, with Thailand scoring one to trail 1-2.

In the second women's doubles match, the inexperienced pair of Shruti Mishra and Priya Konjengbam stood no chance against Aimsaard sisters and they lost comprehensively 11-21, 9-21 in less than 30 minutes.

With the onus on Anmol to power India through, the youngster didn't disappoint and stood right in the middle of a historic moment executing every drop and every smash perfectly against Pornpicha with an easy straight-game win.

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