On Wednesday, India's No. 1 paddler Achantha Sharath Kamal, cried for two reasons — in the morning, on losing his title and, in the evening, for creating history.
Sharath's eyes were filled with tears as he failed to defend his singles title at the Games after losing the semifinal. But, as evening approached, things began to fall in place. Sharath and teammate Subhajit Saha became the first Indian pair to clinch gold in doubles. With the delirious crowd cheering the Indians as the national anthem played, Sharath burst into tears again.
The duo downed Singapore's dreaded duo of Gao Ming and Yang Zi 9-11, 12-10, 11-4, 5-11, 11-8. Grinning from ear to ear, the champion said, “Thankfully we got gold. I can stop weeping now. I couldn't even practice properly before the match as each time I played a shot, the points I lost in the singles came back to haunt me.”
The Indian pair went all out against Singapore. The loss of the first game by two points did not affect their play as they went on to win the second game 12-10. “Saha supported me throughout as I was a little down because of the loss in the morning,” said Sharath, still holding his medal close to his heart. “By the second game, I got into the groove and started hitting hard.”
The third one was a cracker. Cushioned by a 7-0 lead, the duo forced the Singaporeans into making errors, especially at the net, eventually taking the game 12-10. “The third game helped us in keeping them under pressure. Once under pressure, they get uneasy, and this was our best chance to nail them,” said Saha.
Though the fourth game saw them falter at the net on a few occasions, the duo quickly recovered to come back from two games down and clinch the decider.
It was a neck-and-neck fight until 8-8 when Saha broke the Singaporeans’ service to go a point up and held on to his service to pick up the last two points and wrap up the proceedings.
“Even after losing a couple of points towards the end of the game, we didn't try to defend. We went all out for the kill and didn't lax at any point in time,” said Sharath.
Earlier, Sharath lost to Singapore’s Yang Zi 11-9, 8-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-7, 5-11, 9-11.
The world No. 40 will now take on compatriot Soumyadeep Roy for bronze. Roy failed to put up a fight against world no. 17 Gao Ning. The Singaporean trounced the Indian paddler 11-2, 11-2, 11-9, 11-7.
In the women's doubles, Poulomi Ghatak and Mouma Das went down to Singapore's Beibei Sun and Li J. 3-0.
They will now be up against Australia's Feng T and Wang Y. in the third-place play-off on Thursday.