Asian Games 2023: Indian men's squash team triumphs over arch-rivals Pakistan, secures gold
Hangzhou (China), September 30: In a thrilling showdown, the Indian men's squash team, led by Mahesh Mangaonkar, Saurav Ghosal, and Abhay Singh, claimed a coveted gold medal at the 19th Asian Games 2023 by defeating arch-rivals Pakistan with a score of 2-1 in a fiercely contested final.
The Indian squad displayed unwavering determination and resilience, diving deep into their skillset to secure the victory and the gold medal. The intense final contest was a best-of-three match-up, which India ultimately clinched.
In the opening match of the high-stakes encounter, Pakistan's Iqbal made an aggressive start, racing to a 5-1 lead against India's Mahesh Mangaonkar. Iqbal secured the game with a score of 8-11, 11-3, 11-2, claiming the first point for Pakistan in this closely watched face-off.
A Glorious Gold ????by the ???????? #Squash men's Team!
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What a great match guys!
Great work by @SauravGhosal , @abhaysinghk98 , @maheshmangao & @sandhu_harinder ! You guys Rock????????#Cheer4India ????????#JeetegaBharat#BharatAtAG22… pic.twitter.com/g4ArXxhQhK — SAI Media (@Media_SAI) September 30, 2023
However, veteran player Saurav Ghosal quickly shifted the momentum in India's favor during the second match, delivering an impressive performance with a commanding score of 11-5, 11-1, 11-3 against Pakistan's Muhammad Asim Khan.
The stage was set for a thrilling decider, with Abhay Singh representing India and Noor Zaman for Pakistan. Abhay Singh seized an early 4-point lead in the first game, showcasing exceptional skills. The first game went in Abhay's favor, setting the tone for a gripping showdown.
As the contest progressed, both players displayed remarkable athleticism and court awareness. Zaman's strategic use of side walls added to the intensity. Abhay Singh's understanding of angles and court dynamics allowed him to secure the fourth game, forcing the final match into a decider.
In the decisive game, Abhay Singh's court awareness and strategic play helped him gain an early lead. Despite Zaman's valiant efforts, it was a critical unforced error that turned the tide in India's favour. Abhay Singh secured four consecutive points, ensuring India's gold medal victory in this thrilling final.
Zaman had two opportunities to clinch gold for Pakistan, but Abhay Singh's resilience and determination proved decisive, ultimately delivering the coveted gold medal to India.
This remarkable victory marks a historic moment for Indian squash at the 19th Asian Games and stands as a testament to the team's unwavering spirit and exceptional skill.