Nanjing (China): Teen sensation Kush Kumar made the whole country proud as he won India's first gold medal at the second Asian Youth Games after defeating Malaysia's Mohammad Syafiq Mohd Kamal in the men's singles squash competition on Monday. Chennai-lad Kush won 11-9, 5-11, 11-9, 11-7 against the Malaysian in the summit clash to cap off an impressive undefeated run in the quadrennial event.
In table tennis, India's Abhishek Yadav settled for a bronze medal after losing his semifinal clash against China's Zhendong Fan 2-4 in the men's singles competition. Yadav went down 4-11, 13-11, 13-11, 4-11, 8-11, 5-11 in 44 minutes to his higher-ranked opponent.
This is India's fourth medal in the ongoing edition of the Games after M Kavita Devi and T Lalchhanhima had won a bronze each in girl's judo and boy's weightlifting category on the first day of the competition. The 17-year-old Kush started off well with an aggressive pace but was being caught time and again by Syafiq's delicate drops and some awesome deceptive play.
The top seed Indian, however, narrowly managed to win the first game. The second was an almost one-sided affair with the second seed Syafiq putting the ball away at will. In the third, Kush was 8-3 down but changed to a simple basic game at medium pace. One massive rally and Syafiq surrendered easy points and the game. Kush maintained the same medium-paced basic game to take the fourth game and the gold in 57 minutes.
"I had to push very hard when I was 3-8 in the third game but I was able to keep my focus and win. I want to thank my coaches at the Indian Squash Academy and the federation for all their support," said an elated Kush after the match.
National Coach Cyrus Poncha was equally ecstatic and said, "It is truly a great achievement for India winning a gold medal at these games. I am sure we are only going to get better."
N Ramachandran, President, World Squash Federation, said, "My heartiest congratulations to both Malaysia and India for winning individual Gold medals in the girls and boys categories respectively. The Youth Games is a fantastic event for our budding champions."