In a gripping showdown at the Asian Games 2023 men’s team squash event in Hangzhou, the Indian squad emerged victorious, defeating arch-rivals Pakistan with a score of 2-1 to clinch the coveted gold medal. This thrilling final match held spectators spellbound as Abhay Singh’s heroics turned the tide in India’s favor.
The final match, fraught with tension, saw Mahesh Mangaonkar falter in the opener against Nasir Iqbal, losing in just 11 minutes with a score of 11-8, 11-3, 11-2. However, Saurav Ghosal mounted a remarkable comeback, securing a straight-set victory over Muhammad Asim Khan with a scoreline of 11-5, 11-1, 11-3, thus leveling the scores.
The spotlight then turned to Abhay Singh in the decider. Singh displayed remarkable resilience, winning the first game but dropping the next two. In a gripping finish, he battled back to defeat Noor Zaman 3-2 (11-7, 9-11, 8-11, 11-9, 12-10), clinching the tie in India’s favor.
Abhay Singh’s heroic performance didn’t go unnoticed, with Mahesh Mangaonkar praising his teammate’s courage and fabulous play, especially in the closing moments of the match.
This victory marked India’s second-ever gold medal in squash at the Asian Games, with the previous one also captured by the men’s team at Incheon 2014. Notably, Saurav Ghosal and Mahesh Mangaonkar were part of the champion team from Incheon, adding to their impressive squash legacy.
The Indian men’s squash team had a challenging journey to the final, including a hard-fought 2-0 victory over 2018 champions Malaysia in the semi-finals. Despite a loss to Pakistan in the group stage, they displayed remarkable resilience to secure their spot in the last four.
In the 2018 Jakarta Games, the Indian men’s team had settled for a bronze medal, making their gold medal win in Hangzhou a historic achievement.
As the men’s team celebrates their triumph, the women’s team secured a bronze medal in the Hangzhou 2023 squash event after a valiant effort. Their journey may have ended, but Indian squash players are not done yet, with the singles and mixed doubles events set to commence on October 1.
In this memorable clash of skill and determination, the Indian men’s squash team emerged as true champions, etching their names in Asian Games history with a gold medal well deserved.
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Image Source: Olympics