CWG 2010 – India ready to take its best shot

India dominated England to earn its spot in the badminton mixed team final at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.  Hopes for the host nation’s first Commonwealth gold in 28 years […]

India dominated England to earn its spot in the badminton mixed team final at the in Delhi.  Hopes for the host nation’s first Commonwealth gold in 28 years now rest on the capable shoulders of Saina Nehwal (pictured) and Jwala Gutta.

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Sukumar for BadmintonPhoto (live)

It’s been so long since India won Commonwealth Games gold that the man who earned that hardware, Syed Modi, now has a tournament named after him.  India has had its chances since, with Aparna Popat winning silver in 1998, the same year India made its only appearance in a team final…until today.

Jwala Gutta and Diju Valiyaveetil took the crucial point for India when they took out defending mixed doubles gold medallist Nathan Robertson and new partner Jenny Wallwork in two games of 21-17.  England’s Rajiv Ouseph (pictured below) may be full of confidence after his first ever Grand Prix tournament victory this summer but he could not keep up with India’s compact but explosive Parupalli Kashyap, who prevailed over the world #16 21-17, 21-12.

Saina Nehwal, as expected, had little trouble with England’s Elizabeth Cann.  Her next test will be her biggest by far, however, as Malaysia’s Wong Mew Choo, is Saina’s most realistic challenger for the women’s singles gold medal, which goes up for grabs next week.

Wong, though, could not withstand the challenge from Singapore’s Xing Aiying.   The Jiangsu native had a convincing first and third games against the 2006 silver medallist, winning 21-12, 7-21, 21-15.  Wong will, unfortunately, be facing Saina on Indian soil for the third time this year but, in fact, her worst loss to the young world #3 was in their first encounter on neutral ground as Mew Choo was unable to get into double digits in either game against Saina at the Singapore Open this past June.  The last time Wong beat Nehwal was at the Super Series Masters finals in Johor Bahru last December.

Malaysia will still be banking on their world #1 men and Lee Chong Wei (pictured below) and Koo/Tan came through for the defending champion team.  Lee’s 21-19, 21-18 victory over Derek Wong was adequate if not resounding but Koo/Tan gave no quarter to Singapore’s Wijaya/Triyachart, winning that one 21-7, 21-13.

It is the mixed and women’s doubles that promise to be the decisive ones in Friday’s final.  Since Malaysia’s Koo/Chin also handled a capable challenge from Singapore’s Yao/Triyachart, this final will be a tough one to call.  Jwala Gutta and Chin Eei Hui had the day off women’s doubles on Thursday but may both end up doing double duty Friday and Chin has the added challenge of playing with a new partner in 21-year-old Woon Khe Wei.

First up though, will be third seeds England and Singapore facing off for the bronze medal.  That is to start at 2PM local time, with the final scheduled for 7PM Friday evening.

Semi-final results:

India beat England 3-0

Malaysia beat Singapore 3-1

Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @