Badminton Asia Team Championships: Indian men bounce back with 3-2 win over Hong Kong

Lakshya Sen, Hariharan Amsakarunan-Ruban Kumar and Mithun Manjunath registered wins for India in the must-win tie.

By Ali Asgar Nalwala
Picture by Badminton Association of India

The Indian men’s team came from behind to defeat Hong Kong 3-2 in their second Badminton Asia Team Championships 2022 Group A tie in Shah Alam, Malaysia on Thursday.

Lakshya Sen, who had lost to world No. 2094 Jeon Hyeok Jin in India’s opening tie against South Korea, set the tone with a 21-19, 21-10 win over world No. 17 Lee Cheuk Yiu in the first of the five-match series against Hong Kong.

Lakshya Sen, who won the world championships bronze medal late last year, began the match aggressively and raced to a 10-6 lead. Lee Cheuk Yiu mounted a comeback to level the score at 14-14 but Lakshya Sen kept his composure and pocketed the game.

The world No. 13 Indian faced little resistance from Lee Cheuk Yiu in the second game and eventually gave India a crucial 1-0 lead in the contest.

Indian doubles pair of Manjit Singh and Dingku Singh began well against Law Cheuk Him and Lee Chun Hei Reginald but lost steam as the match progressed. They went down 22-20, 15-21, 18-21 in the second match.

With the tie level at 1-1, Kiran George was up against lower-ranked Chan Yin Chak. The Indian world No. 75 was slow off the blocks and his opponent took advantage to win the first game. Kiran George improved his tempo in the second game but lost the match 21-13, 17-21, 21-9 in the decider.

Hariharan Amsakarunan and Ruban Kumar secured a crucial 21-17, 21-16 win against Hin Long Chow and Chun Wai Lui to bring the tie back on level terms.

In the fifth match, Mithun Manjunath recovered well after going down in the second game against Jason Gunawan. Mithun Manjunath, the world No. 81, dominated the third game and won the match 21-14, 17-21, 21-11.

With this win, the India team, which was placed at the bottom of the Group A points table heading into the tie, climbed up a place to the third spot. 

The Indian men’s team had lost to South Korea 5-0 in their opening tie. They will take on defending champions Indonesia in their final group Group A tie on Friday. India need to finish the group stage in the top two to qualify for the knockouts.

If India wins and qualifies for the Badminton Asia Team Championships semi-finals, they will also make the cut for the Thomas Cup 2022 finals, to be held in Bangkok in May.

The Indian women’s team, meanwhile, will face defending champions Japan on Friday in a must-win Group Y tie. They lost to hosts Malaysia 3-2 on Wednesday.

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