The women’s singles final of the BWF world junior badminton championships in Santander, Spain, is nearing conclusion and the next match is the men’s u-19 final between India's S. Sankar Muthusamy and Kuo Kuan Lin of Chinese Taipei.
Sankar calls up his father Subramanian who is in Chennai watching his son play on television through BWF TV on YouTube. “Have you done your warm-up, pa,” father asks. “Go for the lines, push him and don’t get tired. All the best.”
Sankar Muthusamy vs Kuo Kuan Lin BWF World Junior Championships Final HIGHLIGHTS
Sankar is fighting hard in the first game even as Kuo smashes successfully from the back-court, breaching Sankar’s defence quite regularly. “What’s the score,” Subramanian asks his daughter Lakshmi Priyanka, a 21-year-old, who is now a doubles specialist. Lakshmi refreshes the scores from tournamentsoftware.com and tells her father as the score from BWF TV is a tad slower.
Trailing most of the time in the first game, Subramanian shouts a quiet ‘No’ when his son makes a mistake or when the Taipei lad hits a winner. Sometimes, a good shot from Kuo gets the claps from the family including his mother Rani Thayammal. Sankar’s cousin K. Dipak, a strength and conditioning coach, however, watches Sankar play without much of an emotion.
Kuo takes a huge lead in the second game. The family is hopeful. “Sankar should play more rallies and tire him out. Kuo looks tired,” said Subramanian, who got voluntary retirement from the Chennai Port Trust a few years back.
It looks like the match will get over soon as Kuo leads 20-14. The Indian, a former World No.1, stages a remarkable fightback, saving six match points with wonderful retrievals and counter-attack. Claps get louder and there is more emotion in the air. Lakshmi and Subramanian discuss what Sankar should do and what his opponent is doing right. “Kuo is looking tired but he is not showing it,” said Subramanian.
Kuo hits several of his powerful crosscourt smashes at 21-20 to bag the gold. As truest sports lovers, the father and daughter give a standing ovation.
“We are happy with Sankar’s performance. Many errors in the first game turned out to be costly. He should have reduced the errors. He made more errors and that gave confidence to Kuo, “ says Subramanian.
Lakshmi gives her own analysis. “It was an excellent fightback in the second game. If he had won the second game, he would have carried the momentum and the third game would have been different. Nevertheless, we are proud of Sankar’s performance,” said Lakshmi.