Incheon: A gold was there for the taking but Saurav Ghosal let it slip, squandering a two-game advantage to narrowly miss out on becoming the first Indian squash player to win the yellow metal at the Asian Games, here today.
Ghosal was leading after the first two games of the gold-medal match but his opponent, Kuwait's Abdullah Almezayen, staged a dramatic fightback winning the next three games to clinch the top prize.
Almezayen won the title clash 10-12 2-11 14-12 11-8 11-9 at the Yeorumul Squash Courts. Ghosal had missed out on a gold-medal point with the scoreline reading 12-11 in the third game, which eventually proved to be the decisive game.
Ghosal took 21 minutes to take the first game before consolidating his position by clinching the second in merely six minutes of play. The Kuwaiti then made a grand fightback as he took 19, 12 and 17 minutes respectively to win the next three games.
After the match ended in agony for him, the Indian threw his racquet in frustration before storming into the changing room. This is the world number 16 Ghosal's best showing in the Asian Games.
Prior to this, the 28-year-old Ghosal had three Asian Games medals to his name -- singles bronze in 2006 Doha Games and two more, including one in doubles, in the 2010 edition in Guangzhou.
Coming into this match, Ghosal had tweeted, "Playing Abdullah Mezayen of Kuwait in my finals tomorrow! Full focus to play a solid game, make one last push and win!"
The 28-year-old Kolkattan made an effort but that last push was one that never saw the light of the day.