India's men's doubles specialists Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy made history, overcoming Japan's Yugo Kobayashi and Takuro Hoki 24-22, 15-21, 21-14 in the BWF World Championships quarterfinals to assure themselves of a medal on Friday.
The duo has become the first men's doubles player from India to secure a BWF World Championships medal and only the second doubles pair after the women's team of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa to secure a medal for the country in the prestigious tournament.
The Indian pair, who entered the tournament on the back of clinching gold at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games recently, upset the Japanese pair, ranked No.2 in the tournament.
The first game was a thriller as the defending champions gave a tough fight but Chirag and Satwiksairaj held their nerve. Though Chirag erred, allowing Japan to make the score-line 22-22, he atoned for the mistake with a superb midcourt cross that helped India clinch the first game.
The second game saw Japan claw back from a 9-11 deficit before keeping their composure to level the match 1-1. However, Chirag and Satwiksairaj went for the kill in the third game, taking a 4-1 lead and never letting their guard down after that.
The win is a huge boost for the Indian duo, who had suffered the disappointment of losing in the group stage at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after winning two of their three matches.
The duo has thus assured India of a 13th medal in the history of the World Championships.
The Badminton Association of India (BAI) congratulated the duo on social media, tweeting, "First MD (men's doubles) pair to secure a #BWFWorldChampionships medal; Only 2nd #WorldChampionships medal from India's doubles pair; 13th medal for India at Worlds @satwiksairaj and @Shettychirag04 script history yet again at #BWFWorldChampionships2022."
The two have been in sublime form this year, having started the season by winning the India Open. They reached the All England quarterfinals, played a key role in India winning the historic Thomas Cup gold and finally cornering Commonwealth Games glory.