Exclusive: Rankireddy, Shetty's Asian victory in Dubai inspires UAE’s badminton players

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty ended India's 58-year wait for a gold medal at the Asian championships


Rituraj Borkakoty

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Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty celebrate their win. — Twitter
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty celebrate their win. — Twitter

Published: Tue 2 May 2023, 12:40 AM

Dhiren Ayyappan and Aakash Ravikumar had no idea that just a few days after playing in the early rounds of the Badminton Asia Championships they would be sitting in a crowd of passionate fans, watching an epic men’s doubles final at the Rashid bin Hamdan Hall in Al Nasr Club.

These two young UAE shuttlers witnessed history as Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty ended India’s 58-year wait for a gold medal at the Asian championships with their stirring win (16-21, 21-17, 21-19) over Malaysia’s Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi.

“The crowd went crazy yesterday after every single point the Indians won,” Dhiren, who played in the men’s doubles with his twin brother Dev, told the Khaleej Times.

The 17-year-old UAE player now expects Rankireddy and Shetty, bronze medallists at the 2022 World Championships, to fight for the gold medal in every big tournament.

“They are already among the world’s best teams. I think they will be the biggest contender at the world championships later this year,” said Dhiren who lost in the first round at the Asian championships to legendary Indonesian doubles pair Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan in Dubai.

Ahsan and Setiawan, the former world champions, eventually lost to Rankireddy and Shetty in the quarterfinals.

While Dhiren says the Indian pair's victory has inspired him to take the big step in his own career, Ravikumar, who played in the mixed doubles at the Asian championships for the UAE, credits Mathias Boe for India’s recent success in doubles.

“It was an incredible match in an incredible atmosphere. This win proved India’s progress in doubles. I think overall, the reason behind their doubles success is Mathias Boe, he was a great player.

“Boe is now coaching the Indian doubles teams. He has made a huge impact in Indian doubles. Even Gayatri Gopichand and Treesa Jolly (semifinalists at the All England in March) have been brilliant in women’s doubles.”

Meanwhile, it was an emotional moment for Dubai-based badminton enthusiast Clifford Crasto, whose daughter Tanisha is now India’s top mixed doubles player.

“I am very happy for Satwiksairaj and Chirag. I know them personally because they are my daughter’s India teammates,” he said.

“What a final it was, until the last moment, you didn’t know which team was going to win. I have seen a lot of badminton in my life, but this was one of the best matches I have ever seen.”


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