My Long Wait Has Ended: Dinesh Khanna After Satwik-Chirag’s Men’s Doubles Gold Medal Win At Badminton Asia Championships

For over five decades, Dinesh Khanna would stay glued to the TV screen every time Indian shuttlers competed at the Asian Championship, hoping for his countrymen to break the gold medal jinx.

It was in 1965 when Khanna became the first Indian to win the men’s singles title at the continental championships, a record that stayed intact for a good 58 years.

On Sunday, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty ended the title drought, claiming the gold medal in men’s doubles with a 16-21, 21-17, 21-19 win over Malaysian combination of Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi in a nail-biting final in Dubai.

“When the Asia championships takes place, I do follow it closely and I have always been hoping that one of our players will be bringing home the Asia crown but it didn’t materialise,” Khanna told PTI.

“So I am really excited that Satwik and Chirag have won this title and made us proud, because Asian championships becomes a virtual world championships. It is a great moment for Indian badminton. My long wait for another Indian wining the title is over and let’s hope this tradition continuous.”

Khanna, who hails from Punjab, was a sprightly 22-year-old when he had sown the seeds of success in Indian badminton with a win over Thailand’s Sangob Rattanusorn in the men’s singles final in Lucknow on November 14, 1965.

“They certainly brought back lots of nostalgia. It has been a long wait,” said 80-year-old Khanna.

“I was just hoping that some Indians win it some day. Our other players like PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth have done so well in World championships, Olympics, but somehow nobody was able to win the Asia crown.

“Also, this coming through a doubles combination is absolutely fantastic because doubles till a few years back was not being considered our strong point.”

Satwik and Chirag, who claimed the Swiss Open Super 300 title in Basel, showed tremendous grit as they never gave up after losing the first game and being 7-13 and 11-15 down in the second and third game to secure the first gold for India in doubles.

“It is a proud moment. They showed strong nerves. They were trailing by quite a margin to make from there and win the title, all credit to them for their skills and temperament for the nerves they displayed,” Khanna continued.

“They have really gone to a different level and earlier also they have shown they are capable of beating any pair in the world.

“They are in excellent form and so I am really happy and proud that they won this title which they truly deserved. With the Olympics around next year, we can certainly have hopes on them,” he signed off.

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