face. Telangana’s B Sai Praneeth helped his team clinch the badminton mixed team gold medal by defeating Kerala’s in-form HS Prannoy 18-21, 21-16, 22-20 in the 36th National Games here on Monday. . Their victory came on the back of yet another stellar performance by the husband-wife duo of Sumeeth Reddy and Sikki Reddy, who defeated the young pair of MR Arjun and Treesa Jolly 21-15, 14-21, 21-14. Samiya Farooqui defeated TR Gourikrishna 21-5, 21-12 to give Telangana a chance to celebrate.
As much as they won on the court, Telangana scored on the strategy front as well. They decided to field the experienced Sumeet and Sikki in the opening mixed doubles ahead of Vishnuvardhan Goud and Gayatri Gopichand, who had lost against Maharashtra. Sumeet said, ‘We have given the option to the coach to try us only, even though they last played together in 2021 Thailand Open.’ Sikki told, ‘I think the turning point came when I went to change my service, did not give him any chance.’
The next match was crucial, with Prannoy, currently ranked 16th in the world, enjoying a dream season starting as the favourite. Praneeth, who is enjoying a dream season, said, ‘I knew it would be a tough match, especially when we know each other’s game as we often train together. But gradually I was getting comfortable playing my strokes.
Praneet said, ‘I was shocked when Prannoy started playing a fast game. With the shuttle also coming slowly, I was taken back a bit. But fortunately, I maintained my rhythm and won this important match. This will boost my morale.
FIRST PUBLISHED : October 04, 2022, 10:34 IST