London Olympics 2012 badminton: Can Parupalli Kashyap prevail over Lee Chong Wei?
Zeenews Sports Bureau
London: Parupalli Kashyap has made history at the London Olympics 2012 by reaching the quarters in men’s singles event after defeating Sri Lanka`s Niluka Karunaratne. No Indian male singles player has ever reached the quarterfinals at the Olympics before Kashyap.
However he has his task cut out against world number two Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia in the quarterfinals. Kashyap’s record against the Malaysian in the recent past is not very impressive. The Indian was beaten by Chong Wei in straight-games during the Denmark Open in January early this year.
In the pre-quarters, Kashyap survived a scare from the 5 feet 8 inch tall Sri Lankan. In a match that witnessed several long rallies, the Indian was made to work for every point as the Sri Lankan showed excellent retrieving power and engaged his opponent in long rallies. In the first game, Karunaratne went ahead 7-4 but Kashyap narrowed the gap and then built a healthy six-point lead at 17-11.
He delighted the packed audience with beautiful cross-court winners and his trademark drop shots to pocket the first game with a powerful smash. The Sri Lankan, however, made an impressive return in the second game and involved the Indian in long rallies, forcing him to commit sideline errors.
In the decider, Kashyap played aggressively and employed his drop-shots to perfection before sealing the match.
Overcoming challenge from Wei will be a daunting task for the 25-year-old but a victory would be a big achievement for Kashyap. The previous best performances by Indian male shuttlers at the Olympics were by Dipankar Bhattacharjee, who entered the pre-quarterfinals at the 1992 Barcelona Games, and Pullela Gopichand, who lost in the pre-quarters at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.