Kidambi Srikanth, a Guntur born, Gopichand academy groomed, Shuttler who had just became the first to reach BWF Championship’s finals, lost his bid to clinch gold in the summit clash on 20th December.
The Summit clash was between two stars, Kidambi Srikanth, former world no 1 and Singaporean Loh Kean Yew and latter outshone the former in straight games. A former world no. 1, Srikanth lost 15-21, 20-22 to a Malaysia-born opponent in 43 minutes.
With this silver Kidambi Srikanth broke some records while levelled some of them.
The 28-year-old Srikanth thus bettered the feats of legendary Prakash Padukone (bronze in 1983), B Sai Praneeth (bronze in 2019) and Lakshya Sen (bronze in this edition), whom he had beaten in the semifinals on Saturday.
The maiden silver also placed Srikanth alongside PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal, who had finished runner-up in the past.
Sindhu had won the coveted gold in 2019, two silver and two bronze, while Saina claimed the silver at the 2015 Jakarta and a bronze at 2017 Glasgow.
Apart from these records, nationally it’s the first time India clinched two medals in the face of Kidambi Srikanth and Lakshya Sen.
This is a big feat even after registering a lose for Kidambi Srikanth as it is first final for him after losing a place even to qualify for Tokyo Olympics and dwindling from the top.
Playing his first final since the 2019 India Open, 12th seed Srikanth fought dogged battle for supremacy with Loh, who relied on his explosive attacking game and lightening footwork to put pressure on the Indian.
Srikanth, currently ranked 14th in the world, had his moments but he squandered leads of 9-3 and 18-16 in the two games to see the coveted title slip out of his fingers.
What Happened at the game?
The Malaysia born and Singapore groomed 24 years old, Loh Started dominantly with a superb net dribble, opening up a 3-1 lead early on but Srikanth soon turned the tables by engaging his rival in short rallies and using his deception to set up the points.
Srikanth’s tactics of delaying his returns earned dividends as he moved to a 9-3 advantage with a powerful smash.
Loh then tried to dominate the front court but Srikanth took a four-point lead with another smash on his rival’s backhand at the mid-game interval.
After resumption, Loh found his footing as he clawed back 11-11 by winning the next four points and then unleashed a jump smash to grab the lead.
After the change of sides, the duo fought tooth and nail, moving 4-4 together. Srikanth tried to engage his rival in flat exchanges, sandwiched with angled returns and smashes to move to a 7-4 advantage.
Srikanth showed great courage at the net to save two match points but he erred next as Loh then pushed the shuttle at the backline with a precise return to go down on his knees in disbelief.
Loh thus became the first man from his country to win the World Championships title.
It was a big achievement for Loh, who made it to the final after a sensational post-Olympics season which saw him win the Dutch Open, Hylo Open and finish runner-up at the Indonesia Open Super 1000.
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