Satwik-Chirag sign off with bronze medal at World Championships

Despite the loss, it was a creditable show by Satwik and Chirag, who emerged as the first Indian pair to win a men’s doubles medal at the showpiece.
Chirag Shetty (front) and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy.
Chirag Shetty (front) and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy.

TOKYO: Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty capped off a memorable campaign with a historic bronze medal in the men’s doubles competition of the World Championships after going down narrowly to Malaysia’s Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik in the semifinals here on Saturday.

The world number 7 Indian pair, which had claimed the Commonwealth Games men’s doubles gold early this month, flattered to deceive as it squandered an opening game advantage to go down 22-20 18-21 16-21 to the Olympic bronze medallists in a pulsating 77-minute clash, bringing an end to the Indian challenge at the prestigious tournament.

It was the sixth successive defeat against the world number 6 pair for Satwik and Chirag, who had lost to the same combination at the CWG mixed team final early this month.

Despite the loss, it was a creditable show by Satwik and Chirag, who emerged as the first Indian pair to win a men’s doubles medal at the showpiece.

It also ensured that India continued to return with a medal from the World Championships since 2011, the year the country won its first doubles medal with the women’s pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa clinching a bronze.

In the semifinal clash, Chirag looked a bit offcolour with his serve and defence, while Satwik tried his best to make up for it but in the end the Malaysians proved to be a tad faster and more subtle in their strokeplay in a match that went down to the wire.

It is irritating to be unlucky all the time: Satwik

It is irritating to be unlucky all the time and perhaps they would need some divine intervention to win these crucial matches, a frustrated Satwiksairaj Rankireddy said after he and Chirag Shetty narrowly lost the men’s doubles semifinals of the World Championships here on Friday.

“It is unfortunate to always be unlucky all the time in crucial stages. There were too many string outs and lucky net chords in crucial times, which is really irritating,” Satwik said after the semi-final loss.

“At 17-15, Chirag’s racquet string was out, so it is always unlucky situations for us. It was a tough loss.”

It was the sixth successive defeat against the world number 6 pair for Satwik and Chirag, who had lost to the same combination at the CWG mixed team final early this month.

“We are a bit disappointed. It was quite close and could have gone either way but I guess a few points here and there and luck was also not on our side. All credit to them, they played a solid game,” Chirag said.

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