Asian Games: Satwik-Chirag win first ever Asiad gold for India in badminton
Squash player Anahat Singh and bridge stalwart Jaggy Shivdasani also made history, becoming the youngest and oldest Indians respectively to win a medal in Hangzhou
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty on Saturday won the first ever Asiad gold medal for India in badminton at the 2023 Asian Games in Hangzhou.
The two also became the first Indian men's doubles pair to win a gold medal when they defeated the Republic of Korea pair Choi Solgyu and Kim Wonho in straight games, 21-18, 21-16 to herald a new era for Indian badminton.
Earlier in the day, as India reached the 100-medal mark at the 19th Asian Games, squash player Anahat Singh and bridge stalwart Jaggy Shivdasani made history of their own.
At 15, Anahat is the youngest Indian to win a medal in Hangzhou while at 65, Shivdasani became the oldest Indian to win a medal in this edition of the Asian Games.
Anahat, born on 13 March 2008, was part of the Indian team that bagged a bronze medal in the women's team and mixed doubles events. Shivdasani, born on 16 February 1958, won silver as part of the Indian team that won the men's team event in bridge.
"Just winning the medal, in general, was really, really good. To get a bronze, that's really good, a big deal at such an age. It does make me slightly happier, but it would have been better had we got gold or silver," said Anahat after the mixed doubles match, in which she partnered Abhay Singh.
Meanwhile, this is Shivdasani's second Asian Games medal. He was part of the team that won a bronze medal in 2018 when bridge made its debut at the Games. "You can't be too disappointed. We got a bronze last time (at Jakarta), and at the start, if you'd told me we'd get a silver medal, I would have taken it and said ‘let's not play'," he said.
Interestingly, neither squash nor bridge are part of the Olympic Games, though both the international federations governing the sports have made multiple attempts to get the status.
Shivdasani said bridge has been approved as an Olympic sport but is waiting for a slot. "Apparently, it has been approved as an Olympic sport, but there isn't a slot for it. I don't know if I'll still be around, but I hope it does become an Olympic sport. That would be great," he said.
Squash has come close to being included in the Olympic Games on a few occasions, narrowly missing the 2012 London Olympics and the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, as golf and rugby sevens were picked.
At the 125th International Olympic Committee session in Buenos Aires in 2013, the IOC voted for wrestling instead of squash or baseball/softball.