Asian Games: Indian women lose squash final to Hong Kong, get silver

squash-india-women-asiad-pti Sunayna Kuruvilla (front) hits a return against Hong Kong's Ho Tze Lok in their women's team gold medal squash match at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta | AFP

The Indian women had a date with history on September 1 as they met Hong Kong in the squash team event final. They had earlier lost to the Hong Kong 2-1 in their pool match. The women's squash team has never won gold at the Asian Games, and the hunger was writ large on their faces as they entered the arena. While Dipika Pallikal and Joshna Chinappa have been in this situation before, having won bronze and silver in the women's team event in the previous two editions, Sunayna Kuruvilla and Tanvi Khanna were playing their first Asian Games final.

If they had won gold, it would have been India's best ever gold tally at the Asian Games.

Youngster Sunayna Kuruvilla played the first match against Ho Tze-Lok with some good placement from both players to begin with. It was 3-3, before Sunayna took the lead, and Ho came back to make it 5-4. It went neck and neck for a while. It was 7-7, but then Ho took a two point lead, and eventually won the first game 11-8. There were some questionable refereeing.

The second game began with Ho taking a 3-1 lead. Ho then went down and Sunayna helped her up to a round of applause. The Indian then came back to make it 4-4. Ho then sped ahead with a four-point lead. Though Sunayna made it 6-8, Ho took the game 11-6.

Third game, and Sunayna began strong, but kept on conceding the lead, three times, to make it 5-5.

Some arguing with the ref by Sunayna, and Ho took the lead. But the Indian cam back to make it 8-7. It was 9-9 at that point, and the ref called 8-9 in Ho's favour. He was booed, and corrected himself. It then became 10-10, before Sunayna took the game 12-10.

Fourth game began with both players matched evenly. It was 3-3, before Ho zoomed ahead to make it 8-3. She extended her lead to 10-3 and took the game and the first match 11-3.

The second match saw Joshna take on Wing Chi Annie Au. Anni Au took the early lead, 3-0. Joshna came back with one point, but Anni Au quickly made it 6-1. She then made it 8-2 with some good placement, and eventually took the opening game 11-3.

A better Joshna turned up for the second game, taking a 2-0 lead. Annie Au came back to make it 2-2. Some back and forth to make it 5-5. Referee was at it again, making it 8-6 to Hong Kong. Annie Au then took another point, but Joshna came back to make it 9-10. However, Annie Au took the game 11-9.

In the third game, and what would turn out to be India's last game, Annie Au took an early lead of 4-1. Joshna made it 2-4 when a rare referee call went her way. Annie Au then dominated, making it 9-2, and eventually taking the game, and match for 11-5, thus ending India's campaign.