Asian Games: Indian men's squash team wins historic gold medal
Incheon: The Indian squash players wrapped up a historic performance in the Asian Games, clinching an unprecedented men's team gold after the women's side settled for its first ever silver here today.
With a silver and a bronze, through Saurav Ghosal and Dipika Pallikal respectively in the individual events, the squash players signed off with their best ever medal haul in the Games.
The icing on the cake was provided by the men's team, led by Ghosal, which clinched the historic gold after edging out Malaysia in the summit clash.
Ghosal played out of his skin to guide India to a 2-0 win against Malaysia in a n energy-sapping contest that lasted two hours and 26 minutes at the Yeorumul Squash Courts here.
It was 25-year-old Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu, who started the proceedings for India on a positive note as he saw off Iskandar Mohamad Azlan Bin 11-8 11-6 8-11 11-4 in the opening match that lasted 58 minutes.
World No.16 Ghosal then bounced back from a game down to eke out a 6-11 11-7 11-6 12-14 11-9 win over former world no. 7, Ong Beng Hee in a gruelling 88-minute clash to give India a healthy 2-0 lead. The Kolkata-player, who had a 1-1 record against Ong before this match, had to dig deep against the Malaysian, who turned the tables in the fourth game which lasted 19 minutes.
In the decider, Ghosal managed to keep his nose ahead and reached the match point at 10-8. Ong saved one but the Indian closed the door on his rival on the next opportunity to bring joy to the country's contingent here.
The inconsequential third match between Mangaonkar Mahesh and Mohd Adnan Mohd Nafiizwan Bin didn't take place after the Indian withdrew from the contest.
Earlier in the day, the Indian women's squash team went down to Malaysia 0-2 in the final to settle for the silver medal.
Deepika Pallikal and Anaka Alankamony lost their matches in a contest which lasted a little over an hour. Alankamony opened the proceedings for India and did up some fight before going down 9-11 10-12 2-11 to Odette Arnold Delia in 43 minutes.
Next up was Pallikal, who once again came face to face against world number one Nicol David after losing the singles semifinal to her earlier this week. The face off, however, did not yield a different result as Pallikal went down 7-11 6-11 3-11 in 29 minutes.
Joshana Chinappa's inconsequential final rubber did not take place after her rival Wee Wern Low withdrew from the contest.
Prior to this, India had won four medals (all bronze) at the Asian Games since the sport was introduced in the 1998 Bangkok edition. Two of them came courtesy Ghosal and the rest in men's and women's team events.