London: Parupalli Kashyap’s dream run in the badminton men’s singles competition of the London Olympics came to an end at the Wembley Arena on Thursday evening. The first Indian ever to play in the quarterfinals of an Olympics lost to top seed Lee Chong Wei 21-19, 21-11 in a 47-minute contest.
Kashyap was on the same court where Saina Nehwal clinched a thrilling quarterfinal match against Tine Baun of Denmark. And the Indian made a dramatic start against the fancied Lee backed by numerous fans. Kashyap matched Lee stroke for stroke and was level 19-19 when the lithe Malaysian changed gears to win the big points that mattered.
“Winning the first game was crucial. He is a class act and if you can’t surprise him first up, he will get you,” Kashyap explained after playing one of the greatest matches of his career.
The second game looked quite a one-way traffic with Lee winning points with is trademark jumping smashes and deft placements on either side of the court. Kashyap made several unforced errors and several returns went wide or long. At 11-6, Lee seemed to be in control and never lost the momentum.
“My length wasn’t right in the second game and he was playing strokes that he didn’t play in the first game. That’s why he is a world class player,” Kashyap said.
He missed his father once again on courtside. That was perhaps his only disappointment in his maiden Olympic appearance.