SAG: Indian shuttlers dominate on opening day

Shillong, Feb 6 (IANS) Indian shuttlers dominated Day 1 of the badminton competitions at the 12th South Asian Games (SAG) beating Maldives and Bangladesh in the men’s team event league stage here on Saturday.

India won 3-0 on both occasions, leaving little room for the rivals to make their presence felt.

The Indian men’s team comprising singles players Kidambi Srikanth, Ajay Jayram and H.S. Prannoy and doubles combinations Manu Attri-Sumeeth Reddy and Akshay Dewalker-Pranay Chopra made quick work of their opponents in the morning session.

India is clubbed in Group A with Maldives, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

While Md Ajfan of Maldives did offer a semblance of resistance against Srikanth in the first game of the day, it was all India thereafter. Srikanth won 21-17, 21-12.

Jayram, meanwhile, was a man in a hurry and beat his Maldives opponent Zayan Zaki 21-8, 21-5 to make it 2-0 for India. Later, Attri and Reddy beat the Maldives doubles pair of Zaki and Rasheed 21-8, 21-10 to close the contest in India’s favour.

In the second session, India repeated the feat against a spirited Bangladesh side. Prannoy started off the tie by beating Ayman Jaman 21-14, 21-13.

Rais Uddin put up a dogged fight, though only for a short while against India’s B. Sai Praneeth. But he eventually went down 21-17, 21-18. Later, it was a cakewalk for the Indian doubles pair of Manu and Sumeeth who beat Ayman and Rais 21-8, 21-9.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan and Sri Lanka men’s team also won two games each. While Pakistan beat Nepal 3-2 in a close contest in the morning session, Sri Lanka walked all over a young Bhutan side 3-0.

In the second session, Pakistan beat Bhutan 3-0, while the Lankans repeated the feat against Nepal, beating the Himalayan nation by an identical margin.

Afghanistan, meanwhile went down to Bangladesh and Maldives by 3-0 margins.

In the women’s team event on Saturday, Bangladesh beat Maldives 3-0, while Nepal beat Afghanistan by the same margin. Sri Lanka too beat Pakistan 3-0.

It was undoubtedly India’s day as the hosts did not even lose a set in the over two sessions of play.

On Sunday, the famed Indian women’s team will be action against Nepal in the morning session.

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