Prannoy advances to medal round; Sindhu bows out in quarterfinals

Hangzhou: India’s HS Prannoy plays against Kazakhstan's Dmitriy Panarin during the Men's Singles Round of 16 badminton match at the 19th Asian Games, in Hangzhou, China, Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023. (PTI Photo/Gurinder Osan) (PTI10_04_2023_000077B) *** Local Caption ***

A valiant HS Prannoy battled his way to the semifinals, becoming only the first Indian in 41 years to win a badminton medal in men’s singles at the Asian Games but it was curtains for PV Sindhu in women’s singles here on Thursday.
Playing with a taping on his lower back and a belt under his shirt, Prannoy battled severe back spasm to dish out a performance for the ages, outshining Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia 21-16 21-23 22-20 in the quarterfinals to assure India a second badminton medal at the ongoing Games.
India had won a silver in men’s team championships last Sunday. “I think it was a really tough one out there. I think Lee is always a tough opponent. It was a very physical match today for me,” Prannoy said after the match. “I’m not at all in a condition where I could say I’m 80 per cent right. But I think to pull off something like this, I would give a lot of credit to myself. I think the will to fight was always there. So I think that paid off.” After fighting his way through a marathon 78 minute contest, the 31-year-old from Kerala fell on the court in disbelief. He then removed his shirt, fist-pumped and ran into the arms of chief coach Pullela Gopichand. Prannoy thus ended India’s long wait for a men’s singles medal at the Asian Games with Syed Modi winning the first — a bronze — at the 1982 edition in New Delhi.The world championships bronze medallist was ruled out of team championships final due to the back injury as India went down 2-3 to China to settle for a silver.
“It is affecting me. But that’s how sport is. You can’t be 100 per cent every day. But you have to learn to pull off matches even when you’re 60 or 70 per cent. I think today was one of those days when I had to do that,” he said. While it was ecstacy for Prannoy, Sindhu had to endure the pain of returning without a medal for the first time in nine years after she lost 16-21 12-21 to world No.5 Chinese He Bingjiao in 47 minutes to bow out of the competition.