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India win badminton bronze
March 20, 2006 16:17 IST
Teenage talent Saina Nehwal scored a huge upset over a top-ranked New Zealand player and catapulted India to the bronze medal in the badminton mixed team event at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne on Monday.
After scaring defending champions England in the semi-finals on Sunday, India rode on the rising starlet's breathtaking form to beat New Zealand 3-1 at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre.
The higher ranked world No. 33 Rebecca Leigh Bellingham had no answer to the aggressive display of the 16-year-old Indian and lost the women's singles match in straight games.
Earlier, continuing their fine showing in mixed doubles, Jwala Gutta and V Diju eclipsed Adin Daniel Shirley and Sara Runesten 21-17, 13-21, 21-9 in the first rubber, in 39 minutes.
But David John Moody rallied to beat national champion Anup Sridhar 11-21, 21-8, 21-19 in a little under 50 minutes to restore parity.
Giant-killer Saina, who had on Sunday caused the downfall of both the defending gold and silver medallists in Singapore's Li Li and Traccey Hallm of England respectively, defeated Rebecca 21-13, 24-22 and put India ahead 2-1.
Saina's powerplay proved too much for her opponent in the first game which she claimed 21-13 in 14 minutes. But the next went to wire.
Saina, at one stage, led 8-2 but Leigh reduced the gap even though she could never overtake the Indian.
Saina led 9-5, then 10-7, 12-9, 14-11, 16-14 and 20-18 before wrapping up the game and the match at 24-22 to give her team a 2-1 lead.
The men's doubles duo of Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas bounced back against Adin Daniel and Craig Cooper after losing the first game 11-21 to wrap up the next two games 21-11, 21-18 and clinch India the bronze.
Top seed Malaysia will take on England in a repeat of the last edition's title contest.