Niluka Karunaratne casts out Kenichi Tago in group stage of 2012 London Olympics
It was a dreadful day for Japanese badminton lovers as their major hope in London Olympics was buried when Kenichi Tago surrendered against Niluka Karunaratne in the opening match at Wembley Arena on July 30, 2012.
This Men’s Singles tussle yielded unexpected result as it was resolved in Sri Lanka’s favour with 21-18 and 21-16 score on the board.
Niluka Karunaratne, who was underdog earlier in this event, did not give his superior rival enough time to get settled and stunned him with an intensive campaign.
The World Number eight Kenichi was not out of this shock even after quite some time and stated that he was unable to figure out the situation.
He said, “It felt like I woke up from sleeping and, the next thing I know, I have lost the match. I don’t know what happened.”
The Sri Lankan campaigner performed beyond expectations and registered his presence in the arena by sealing a straight-set win.
Niluka started his campaign in perfect manner as he prevailed in four consecutive rallies straight away in the beginning and pushed his high ranked rival on the back-foot.
He mounted pressure by gathering valuable points at steady pace and then doubled the impact by reaching a respectable position of 11 on points table just before the interval.
Though, the Japanese shuttler strived hard to revive his lost form but he could not come out of this bad patch and knelt down after reading 18-21 margin.
The eighth seeded Kenichi failed to live up to his billing also in the following game and crashed out of the event in disgraceful manner.
Meanwhile, the result surprised the low rankled Niluka also as he admitted that he was not expecting much from this encounter but in the same breath he also vowed to make best out of this boost.
He said, “In this two-man group there was no room for error. I was the outsider and now I am in the last 16. I will go back and relax and look at the draw now to see who I am playing as I have no clue.”
Niluka received a great round of applause from the crowd when he stamped Kenichi in second set with a notable difference in decisive figure of 21-16 and cemented his spot in quarter-finals of the mega event.