India's top-ranked male doubles players Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy sounded elated after winning the men's doubles title in Badminton Asia Championship, with Shetty saying he was over the moon after winning the title.
The Indian men's doubles pair created history on Sunday as they clinched the gold medal after beating Malaysia's Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi in the final of the Badminton Asia Championships 2023.
Shetty and Rankireddy defeated the Malaysian pair 16-21, 21-17, 21-19 in a thrilling men's doubles final that lasted an hour and seven minutes.
Badminton Association of India (BAI) President Himanta Biswa Sarma announced 20 lacs as a reward for this historic win by the Indian pair.
After the match, Shetty stated, "I am over the moon after winning the Badminton Asia Championships title. I and Satwik worked really hard for this medal and I am happy that we have finally won the title. Also, I would like to thank everyone back home for supporting me.
"I am grateful for all the support we have got during the Badminton Asia Championships. It's a great feeling to win this tournament for the first time and I am sure we will win more such titles in the future. We will continue to work hard to bring laurels to the country," concluded Rankireddy.
This is the first-ever gold medal for India at the Badminton Asia Championships in the men's doubles category. Dipu Ghosh and Raman Ghosh won a bronze medal in 1971 when they reached the semi-finals of the competition. Dinesh Khanna is the only gold medal winner for India in the men's singles category in the continental championships. He won the men's singles title back in 1965.
Talking about the final, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy said they rode on the support of the crowd to victory against the Malaysian pair.
"I think today we didn't play, the crowd played with us. It was a bad start in the first and half of the second game, but we didn't give up. We kept our nerves; we know how to play in these situations. So, we were waiting for a good rhythm and then take our chances. We were calmer in the second and third games. It felt like playing in Hyderabad. The crowd was amazing."
Chirag Shetty said the turning point in the match was at 13-8 in the second game.
"After 13-8, we tried to play a little smarter. Service was one thing that worked really well for us; it took them by surprise. We were also a lot calmer while defending as well."
As for how did it feel to make history and becoming Asian champions, Rankireddy said, "Personally for me, it will take a lot of time to believe that we are the Asian champions. I still don't believe we are Thomas Cup champions. It's our dream to win for India and make the flag fly high. Good boost for us as we go into the Olympic qualification period."
This is easily the biggest title for Shetty and Rankireddy after the World Championship bronze.