New Delhi: India's top shuttler Ajay Jayaram kept his nose ahead of compatriot P Kashyap in the race for qualifying for the London Olympics by notching up a straight-game victory in the first round of the Asia Badminton Championship in Qingdao, China, on Tuesday.
Jayaram was the only bright spot on a gloomy day for India as the rest of the shuttlers bid adieu in the first hurdle at the Qingdao Sports Centre Conson Stadium. World number 27 Jayaram prevailed over Chinese Taipei's Jen Hao Hsu 21-19, 21-19 in a 54-minute men's singles match. His compatriot Kashyap, however, had a much tougher ask in the first round in world number three Chen Long of China and was beaten 9-21, 13-21 in 40 minutes.
Among the other Indian shuttlers, S Prannoy suffered a 6-21, 20-22 defeat at the hands of world number 10 Tien Minh Nguyen of Vietnam, while Sameer Verma went down against fourth-seed Simon Santoso of Indonesia 19-21, 14-21.
Jayaram, trailing 5-8 at one stage, reeled off seven straight points before clinching the opening game 21-19. In the second game, Jayaram kept up the advantage for most part after leading 4-1 initially, but the world number 35 Jen caught up at 16-all before the Indian moved ahead to seal the game and with it the match in his favour.