Hangzhou [China], September 30 (ANI): After clinching gold in the men’s team event at the ongoing Asian Games, rising squash player Abhay Singh on Saturday said he was at a loss for words to express his feelings.
The Indian men’s squash team of Mahesh Mangaonkar, Saurav Ghosal and Abhay struck gold, beating arch-rivals Pakistan 2-1 in a high-intensity final on Saturday.
“I am at a loss for words. This is what we play for. This is what we make all our sacrifices for. I am 25 and live a life, which is very different from others my age,” Abhay told ANI after fetching the country its tenth gold in the ongoing Hangzhou Asian Games, on Saturday.
Mahesh said he was overcome with emotion as the Tricolour went up on the podium and the national anthem was played at the presentation ceremony.
“It goes without saying that we felt the pressure and weight of expectations back home going into the gold medal match. Our captain, Saurav, set the tone with a phenomenal performance. I would attribute the win to a great team effort. I was overcome with emotion as I rose to the podium and the national anthem was played. When you see the tricolour going up on the podium, it gives you a sense of fulfillment after all the hard work that you put in over the years,” Mahesh told ANI.
Captain Saurav shared how he kept the team together and focussed on the big final while bringing his best game to the fore.
“This medal is special as I had been working very hard to raise my own level while keeping the team together in a good mental space. It’s great that we won gold for the country,” Saurav told ANI.
In an exemplary display of grit and resilience, India dug deep to wrap up the tie and clinch gold in the best-of-three final against their arch-rivals.
In the first match, it was Pakistan’s Iqbal who opened strongly, racing to a 5-1 lead over Mahesh.
The Indian dropped the first three games against his Pakistan rival Iqbal, losing 8-11, 11-3, 11-2. After a competitive first game, in which Mangaonkar led 11-8 at one point, Nasir won the next two games rather easily to give Pakistan a 1-0 lead in the tie.
However, in the second match, veteran Saurav Ghosal turned the tide in India’s favour, upstaging Muhammad Asim Khan 11-5, 11-1, 11-3.
Bringing his supreme fitness and athleticism to the fore, Abhay dived to reach a couple of shots. However, Noor Zaman demonstrated his understanding of the angles, making the most of side walls.
In the decider, however, Abhay worked the angles to his advantage to pick up two quick points and take the lead.
The decider saw some fascinating exchanges before a costly unforced error from Zaman gave Abhay the win.
Zaman had two gold medal points but Abhay dug deep to win four points on the trot and secure the yellow metal for India in the men’s team event. (ANI)
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