PTI Photo/Manvender Vashist
India Finishes Fifth at CWG With 64 Medals

Parupalli Kashyap brought the curtains down on India's campaign in the 20th Commonwealth Games to a thunderous applause, winning a historic gold in the men's singles badminton here today, as the country earned a fifth-place finish with 64 medals, including 15 yellow metals.

The quest for a CWG hockey gold though remained unfulfilled as the Indian men's team went down tamely 0-4 to title holders and world champions Australia in the final.

Likewise, the women's doubles combo of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa, too, had to be content with a silver medal at the Emirates Arena here.

The story on the final day of the Games revolved around Kashyap. Playing like a man possessed, the 27-year-old stole the limelight as he etched his name firmly in the history books by becoming the first Indian male shuttler in 32 years to win a gold in the Commonwealth Games.

The three podium finishes on the final day of the Games meant India ended with 30 silver and 19 bronze, apart from the 15 top prizes.

Traditional powerhouse England led the overall standings with 171 medals, followed by Australia (135), Canada (82) and hosts Scotland, which ended the multi-sport extravaganza with 53 medals.

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 over Derek Wong of Singapore in the final showdown, which lasted over an hour.

The 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.

Just after Kashyap's moment of triumph, Jwala and Ponnappa lost their summit showdown with Malaysian combo of Vivian Kah Mun Hoo and Khe Wei Woon 17-21 21-23, leaving the holders' title defence in tatters.

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.

In the first game, Kashyap was leading 14-8 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. 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 game point but the Indian soon wrapped it up with another jump smash to earn the bragging rights.

Not ready to take it lying down, Wong changed his gameplan and started penetrating the defence of Kashyap to lead 11-6 at the interval. Kashyap committed too many unforced errors while Wong stepped up to move to 15-8.

In the end, a down-the-line smash from Wong and a few wide shots helped the Malaysian make a roaring comeback into the contest.

Back to his winning court, Kashyap started the decider on a positive note. His smashes were more accurate and he judged the shuttle well.

But still he found it tough to break the defence of Wong, who used his tricky deceptive shots, better court coverage and better net play to lead 11-8.

After the interval, Kashyap narrowed the lead to 11-12. At 13-11, the duo engaged in a long aggressive rally, which the Indian won, amid loud cheers from the fans.

Kashyap soon drew level at 14-14 when Wong found the net and then surged ahead with a bodyline smash. The Indian stepped up the attack and engaged in a fast-paced rally, which ended with Wong hitting long.

Wong found the net again and Kashyap earned a point with a cross-court smash to move to 19-16. The Malaysian, however, soon rubbed off the deficit with a three-point burst but he hit long and wide next as Kashyap burst into celebration.

In the women's doubles final, Jwala and Ashwini paid the price for committing too many unforced errors as they first blew up a narrow 15-13 lead in the opening game, before wasting a four game point advantage in the second game.

Ashwini was specially not in her elements today as the Indian failed to connect her strokes, which saw the shuttles going wide and long, resulting in a lot of points for their Malaysian rivals.

The match between the two pairs -- separated by just three ranking points -- was a rollercoaster ride right from the start as the Malaysian combo could only earn a narrow 11-10 lead at the first interval.

Ashwini's deceptive flicks earned India a couple of points after the breather but unforced errors by the Indian and a mistake at the net by Jwala helped Hoo and Woon drew level at 16-16.

Two wide shots then helped the Malaysian pair earn a three-game point lead and they soon pocketed it to grab a 1-0 advantage. The Indians struggled to recover after that.

In hockey, a lacklustre India were outclassed 0-4 by Australia in the men's final to settle for a silver medal, their second consecutive, in the Commonwealth Games.

Chris Ciriello scored a hattrick by converting three penalty corners in the 13th, 29th and 48th minutes while Eddie Ockenden got the fourth goal in the 51st minute in the summit clash played under heavy downpour at the Glasgow National Hockey Center.

Even though the two teams are class apart, it was an ideal opportunity for eight-time Olympic champions India to avenge their 0-8 thrashing at the hands of mighty Australia in the 2010 edition of the Games in New Delhi.

But it was not to be as Australia produced a clinical performance and completely dominated the match by scoring two goals in each half to secure their fifth consecutive Commonwealth Games title since the introduction of hockey in the quadrennial event in 1998, where India finished fourth.

Starting as underdogs, there was nothing to lose for the Indian team in the gold medal match against a formidable opponent like Australia, who beat them 4-2 in the group stages.

But the Sardar Singh-led side failed to live up to the tall ask as the Aussies controlled the match from start to finish.

The Indian defence performed below par and conceded soft penalty corners from which the Australians scored thrice to take the game away from their opponents.

In the entire 70 minutes, the Indians failed to create a clear chance and also muffed the two penalty corners that came their way.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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