A young but talented Indian women’s team put up a brave effort before going down 2-3 to hosts Malaysia in its opening match of the Badminton Asia Team Championships here on Wednesday.
Ashmita Chaliha and Tara Shah notched up convincing wins but the two inexperienced doubles pairs couldn’t make a mark as the Indian team jeopardised its chances of reaching the knockout stage of the tournament.
With the in-form Malvika Bansod pulling out at the last minute due to health issues, world No. 56 Aakarshi Kashyap, who had reached the semifinals of India Open, started the proceedings but she couldn’t get past 64th ranked Kisona Selvaduray, losing 16-21 21-18 16-21 in an hour and 12 minutes in the opening match.
Khushi Gupta and Mehreen Riza were then shown the door 1-21 6-21 by the Malaysian combination of Valeree Siow and Pearly Tan to make it 2-0 in the home team’s favour.
Assam’s Ashmita Chaliha dished out a superb show to see off Siti Nurshuhaini 21-11 21-19 in 29 minutes to bring India back into the contest.
However, Arul Bala Radhakrishnan and Nila Valluvan proved no match for Anna Ching Yik Cheong and Teoh Mei Xing, losing 10-21 12-21 as Malaysia took an unassailable 3-1 lead.
Little-known Tara Shah, who had claimed the Hungarian International Junior Championships in 2020 and had reached the finals of U-15 Asia Junior Championships, beat Myisha Mohd Khairul 21-16 21-15 to make it 2-3 in the end.
The Indian women’s team will take on defending champions Japan in group Y on Friday.
The men’s team, led by world championship bronze medallist Lakshya Sen, had also lost its opening match 0-5 against Korea on Monday.
They will face Hong Kong on Thursday.