’Emotional’ Saina Nehwal grabs badminton gold in all-India thriller at Commonwealth Games

Saina Nehwal, L, and other teammates celebrate soon after wining their match against Malaysia to win gold medal in mixed team event at the Commonwealth Games. (AP)
Updated 15 April 2018
0

’Emotional’ Saina Nehwal grabs badminton gold in all-India thriller at Commonwealth Games

  • Poster girl of Indian sport overcomes heavy strapping on her right shin to triumph
  • New men's world No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth fails to make it a one-two for India

GOLD COAST: Saina Nehwal made up for her disappointing Rio Olympics as she defeated fellow Indian and rival P.V. Sindhu to win her second Commonwealth Games badminton singles gold on Sunday.
In a tense final, the Delhi 2010 champion staged a second-game comeback against Sindhu, the Olympic silver-medallist, to grasp a thrilling victory 21-18, 23-21.
Former world No. 1 Nehwal, 28, a poster girl of Indian sport, used her greater experience to peg back the 22-year-old Sindhu and the decisive moment came at 18-18 in the second game when a mammoth rally went Nehwal’s way.
Both players were left hunched over gasping for breath as the Gold Coast crowd rose to its feet in applause.
Nehwal, the London Olympic bronze medallist, had heavy strapping on her right shin and revealed afterwards she had been playing through pain throughout the competition.
“It was a very pressurised tournament, a lot of top competition from the Malaysians, it was a very challenging tournament,” said Nehwal, ranked 12 in the world to Sindhu’s three.
Asked how this gold ranked to the one she won on home soil eight years ago, Nehwal said: “Much more tough because the pressure is always there when you already have gold, so there is a lot more expectation.
“I put it next to my Olympic medal and my world No. 1 ranking. It’s a very emotional moment because I’ve been waiting for one good, big victory after that disappointing (second-round) loss at Rio where I had to retire because of my injury and had to go through surgery.”

In the men's final, Malaysian great Lee Chong Wei roared back from a game down to beat India's new world No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth and win his third Commonwealth Games singles gold.
The 25-year-old Srikanth, who only reached the top ranking on Thursday, went some to justifying that lofty position as he raced ahead 21-19 in the first game of the final on Australia's Gold Coast.
Lee, a decade older than his opponent and approaching the end of one of badminton's great careers, stormed back in the second to take it 21-14. He stepped up another gear to clinch the deciding game 21-14.
Overcome with joy, the Malaysian collapsed on the court, lying flat on his back with his hands over his face. 

Lee, who had most of the crowd on his side, now boasts a trophy haul that includes three Olympic silver medals and three Commonwealth singles golds.
His last Commonwealth singles title came at Delhi 2010 after missing the 2014 Glasgow Games with injury.
Srikanth is the first Indian to reach number one in the world in the men's rankings. Lee is currently ranked seventh.


Manchester United inflict more semifinal misery on sorry Spurs

Updated 21 April 2018
0

Manchester United inflict more semifinal misery on sorry Spurs

  • Manchester United come from behind to make FA Cup final.
  • Mauricio Pochettino yet to win a trophy as manager.

A third cup final with Manchester United for Jose Mourinho. More FA Cup semifinal misery for Tottenham.
While Mauricio Pochettino wins admiration for his style of football, the manager has yet to actually win a trophy in management.
A 2-1 collapse to United at Wembley Stadium on Saturday left Tottenham reeling from an eighth successive loss in the FA Cup semifinals.
Pochettino is responsible for two of the setbacks, having also fallen short against Chelsea last season.
At the stadium where Tottenham have been playing their home matches this season, Dele Alli's goal gave the 1991 FA Cup winners hope of turning around their miserable record in world football's oldest knockout competition.
But Alexis Sanchez leveled in the 24th minute and Ander Herrera struck the winner in the second half. It ensured Mourinho, who won the League Cup and Europa League in his first season at United, has a chance to also end this campaign with silverware against Chelsea or Southampton in the FA Cup final.
"We're getting used to being in finals," Herrera said. "This club is all about titles and finals."
While Mourinho has fallen short in the English Premier League behind newly crowned champion Manchester City, United are second and on course for their highest finish since Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.
Tottenham would settle with holding onto fourth place to secure a third season in a row in the Champions League.
Liverpool missed a chance to considerably stretch its advantage over Tottenham in one of Saturday's two league games. Juergen Klopp's side threw away a two-goal lead to draw with last-place West Bromwich Albion 2-2 and move only three points ahead of Tottenham.
Chelsea, who plays Southampton in the other FA Cup semifinal on Sunday, are five points behind Tottenham with four games remaining.

POGBA TRANSFORMED
When United fell behind to Tottenham, Paul Pogba was culpable.
A high ball was launched forward by Tottenham, a lethargic Pogba didn't try to break sweat in an attempt to prevent it reaching Eriksen. It allowed the Dane to whip in a cross for Alli to slide onto at the far post and strike past David De Gea in 11th minute
Had Harry Kane made a connection at the far post with Son Heung-min's cross three minutes later, Tottenham might have extended their lead.
Instead, United were able to draw level. Pogba made amends for his earlier inertia by dispossessing Mousa Dembele and delivering a cross that Sanchez headed past static goalkeeper Michel Vorm.
Sanchez did the hard work to create the winner in the 62nd, holding off Kieran Trippier and rolling the ball into the penalty area where Jesse Lingard teed up Herrera to shoot past Vorm.