Tokyo 2020: India men’s doubles badminton player Chirag Shetty admits difficult to digest early Olympic exit

India’s men’s doubles badminton players Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, ranked world no 10, won two of their three group matches but failed to qualify for the knockout stage after games won by each pair were considered to decide the two qualifiers following a three-way tie.

“It was kind of a good and sad experience for us as we had to go out early,” said Chirag, during a virtual press conference.

“I thought we would go to quarterfinals after the win on the first day but unfortunately three pairs, including us, won two matches each and it was decided by games won, so it was unfortunate, but overall it was a good experience.”

Chirag and Satwik had notched up an incredible win over third seeds and eventual gold medallists Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin of Chinese Taipei in their opening match.

However, they lost to top seeded Indonesian pair of Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamkuljo before claiming a straight game win over Great Britain’s Ben Lane and Sean Vendy in their last group match.

Chirag Shetty admitted it was difficult to come to terms with the early exit from the Tokyo Games but said he and his partner would look to utilise the Olympic experience to win medals at the upcoming events, especially the World Championships in December.

“We knew from the beginning that our group was tough with world No. 3 and 1 and and Great Britain there. But to go out despite winning two matches did hurt us. People whom we beat, to see them win gold was difficult,” Chirag said.

The 24-year-old from Mumbai is now targeting the upcoming major events such as Sudirman Cup (September 26-October 03), Thomas Cup (October 9-17) and World Championships (December 12-19).

“There are a lot of positives to take from the Olympics, we played well game-wise and there are a lot of tournaments coming up like the Sudirman Cup, Thomas Cup and World Championship in December.

“So we will look to do well in these events and hopefully we can come back with a medal.”

Chirag also lauded the Indian Olympic contingent for its best ever performance with seven medals — one gold, two silver and four bronze.

“The Indian contingent started off very well with Mirabai Chanu winning a medal on first day, which we haven’t done before. We too had a good start, winning against the Chinese Taipei pair.

“After that, a couple of days were not so good, we couldn’t win a medal, but eventually, boxers and (PV) Sindhu won medals. The momentum picked up and we couldn’t have ended it better with Neeraj (Chopra) winning that gold medal,” said Chirag.

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