Gold Coast: Indian Shuttler Kidambi Srikanth lost the men's final to Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei at the 21st Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast but bagged the Silver for India. Wei overpowered the newly-crowned world no 1 throughout the match and won 2-1 against Srikanth. With this medal, India's tally swelled up to 65 with 26 Gold, 19 Silver and 20 Bronze.
Srikanth had beaten Lee in the mixed team championships final earlier in the Games but the former world number one rallied for a 19-21 21-14 21-14 triumph on Sunday for his third individual CWG gold. A decade older than the Indian, Lee kept his best for the last, showing off the legendary reflexes that have earned him cult status in international badminton.
Srikanth had a good start and took just eight minutes to go from being 0-4 down to be 10-7 ahead. The Indian was the better of the two in executing drop shots and even managed to match Lee's ability to mix power with precision. Srikanth led 11-9 at the break. Srikanth remained a step ahead until 14-13 before a misdirected smash gave Lee the equalising point. But Lee was surprisingly off when it came to retrieving the shuttle and his usual agility on the court was only there in flashes. To Srikanth's credit, he made the most of his fancied opponent's lack of intensity and took the first game 21-19 in the 25 minutes.
A slight moment of drama came in the second game when it seemed Lee had struck the shuttle twice to claim a point but was not penalised for it and the match went on despite Srikanth's protest. Leading 9-5 in the decider, Lee went for a change of racquet and it only got him better results as he grabbed an 11-5 lead to take the psychological upper hand. The smashes that were landing outside in the opening game became just the bit accurate and difficult for the Indian to retrieve.
Even at his erratic worst, the Malaysian was simply unstoppable for the Indian and claimed the match pretty comfortably.
Srikanth had entered the final after defeating 2010 Commonwealth Games silver medallist Rajiv Ouseph of England 21-10 21-17 in little over half an hour. Just like the women's badminton final, the men's finals could have been between two Indian shuttlers too. But the dream run was broken after the three-time Olympic silver medallist Lee Chong Wei prevented an all-Indian men's singles clash by beating HS Prannoy 21-16 9-21 21-14 in the semifinal.