Parupalli Kashyap etched his name firmly in the history books on Sunday by becoming the first Indian male shuttler in 32 years to win a gold medal in the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
A bronze-medallist at the Delhi Games, Kashyap rose to the occasion and played a sensational game of nerves to eke out a breath-taking 21-14 11-21 21-19 triumph against Derek Wong of Singapore in the final showdown which lasted for over an hour.
The 27-year-old year shuttler from Hyderabad, thus joined badminton legend Prakash Padukone and the late Syed Modi, who had won the title in the past. While Padukone had won the men’s singles gold medal at the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Canada, Modi retained it four years later.
It turned out to be a red letter day for World No. 22 Kashyap who bagged the biggest title of his career. He had reached the quarterfinals of the London Olympics and won the Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold in 2012.
Up against a tricky player, Wong, who was immaculate with his court coverage and wrist play, Kashyap was rewarded for his relentless never give up attitude at the Emirates Arena.
In the first game, Kashyap was leading 14-8 in first game before Wong came back with the help of some precise smashes to gather four straight points but the Indian soon turned the tables.
Kashyap put pressure on his opponent and gathered few points at the net to reach 18-12. Soon he garnered seven game points after Wong’s return got buried into the nets.
An inaccurate down-the-line smash from Kashyap helped Wong save one but the Indian soon wrapped it up with another jump smash to earn the bragging rights.