The Indian men’s team, led by world championship bronze medallist Lakshya Sen, secured a 3-2 win over Hong Kong in group A to keep its slim hopes alive of making the knockout stage at the Badminton Asia Team Championships here on Thursday.
The crushing 0-5 defeat against Korea in their opening match has made life difficult for India as they are currently at the third spot in group A, just above Hong Kong, with one win and one loss.
Three-time defending champions Indonesia and Korea are currently ahead in the race to qualify from group A.
India Open winner Lakshya Sen, Mithun Manjunath and the doubles pairing of Hariharan Amsakarunan and Ruban Rethinasabapathi Kumar gave a good account of themselves during the five-match rubber.
World no 13 Lakshya started the proceedings, thrashing world no 17 Lee Cheuk Yiu, a silver medallist at 2013 Asian Youth Games, 21-19, 21-10 in 35 minutes to give India a good start.
Hong Kong took control of the match with Law Cheuk Him and Lee Chun Hei Reginald notching up a thrilling 20-22, 21-15, 21-18 win over Manjit Singh Khwairakpam and Dingku Singh Konthoujam.
Indian women’s team loses 2-3 to Malaysia in Badminton Asia Team Championships
Kiran George, who won his maiden Super 100 event at Odisha, put up a spirited show before losing 13-21, 21-17, 9-21 to Chan Yin Chak as Hong Kong led 2-0 after three matches.
Hariharan and Ruban, who had won the all-India senior ranking badminton tournament in Chennai in December last year, got the better off Hong Kong’s Chow Hin Long and Lui Chun Wai 21-17, 21-16 to keep India afloat.
Manjunath, who had reached the semifinals of Syed Modi Super 300, then saw off Jason Gunawan 21-14, 17-21, 21-11 to hand India a fine 3-2 win.
However, the men’s team will have to claim an outright win against title holders Indonesia on Friday and also need Korea to lose to Hong Kong to make an improbable entry into the knockout stage.
India and Korea currently have one win and one loss, and if both teams win on Friday, it will come down to the number of matches and games won and lost, where Korea is ahead.
Indian women’s team lost its opening match 2-3 against Malaysia. They will take on defending champion Japan on Friday.