‘I thought we would go to quarterfinals after first win ‘ – Chirag Shetty opens up on ‘unfortunate’ Olympic debut

Chirag Shetty asserts that the learning at the Olympics will come in handy later this year with the World Championships coming up.

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty

The Indian duo of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty were brilliant in their maiden Olympic campaign at the Tokyo Olympics. The pair notched two wins despite being placed in the group of death which featured the World no. 1 and no.3 pairings. Despite a stellar show, which included a fabulous victory over the third seeds, they failed to make it to the knockouts.

They failed to qualify for the knockout stage after games won by each pair were considered to decide the two qualifiers following a three-way tie. Chirag admits that it was hard to digest the early exit but it is delighted to have gained some great experiences on the big stage. “It was kind of a good and sad experience for us as we had to go out early,” said Chirag, during a virtual press conference.

I thought we would go to quarterfinals after the win on the first day but unfortunately three pairs, including us, won two matches each and it was decided by games won, so it was unfortunate, but overall it was a good experience.

“People whom we beat, to see them win gold was difficult,” Chirag Shetty

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty

In their maiden Olympic match, Satwik and Chirag stunned the third-seeded duo of Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin 21-16, 16-21, 27-25. Eventually, it was the Chinese Taipei pair who not only topped the group but secured the pole position in the event. Chirag adds that they knew it was going to be a tough affair but it hurt to see the third seeds, whom they defeated, win the gold medal.

We knew from the beginning that our group was tough with world No. 3 and 1 and Great Britain there. But to go out despite winning two matches did hurt us. People whom we beat, to see them win gold was difficult,” Chirag said.

There are a lot of positives to take from the Olympics, we played well game-wise and there are a lot of tournaments coming up like the Sudirman Cup, Thomas Cup and World Championship in December. So we will look to do well in these events and hopefully we can come back with a medal.

India finished the Tokyo Olympics with their best ever medal tally of seven. The Indian contingent returned with a gold, two silver and four bronze medals from the 32nd Summer Games. Chirag is overjoyed with India’s performance at the quadrennial event and lauded the athletes for their efforts.

The Indian contingent started off very well with Mirabai Chanu winning a medal on the first day, which we haven’t done before. We too had a good start, winning against the Chinese Taipei pair. After that, a couple of days were not so good, we couldn’t win a medal, but eventually, boxers and (PV) Sindhu won medals. The momentum picked up and we couldn’t have ended it better with Neeraj (Chopra) winning that gold medal,” said Chirag.

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