From Our Correspondent
SHILLONG, Feb 7: The NEHU, SAI Special Area Games was a hub of activity and buzz today not simply because of the excitement created on the courts but beyond on the tight-filled galleries packed with a small but vociferous crowd.
Also creating a buzz were the non-competition players of various countries who rallied behind their shuttlers every moment.
The home crowd put its vocals to the test early on in the day cheering for the stars of Indian badminton PV Sindhu and Ashwani Ponppa who made light work of their Nepal opponents.
The chants of “India, India” and even “Sindhu-Sindhu” reverberated across the galleries as the Indian duo toyed around with their lower ranked rivals.
The morning session, as expected, saw full attendance from the crowd which came to see the famed Indian women’s team in action.
The fans revelled as the Indians went through the routine, beating their opponents 3-0.
Not surprisingly, once the Indian side was done, the spectators put their weight behind any side playing against Pakistan.
The men’s team event in the post lunch session rendered an eclectic atmosphere to the NEHU, SAI sports complex. Simultaneous games meant that each side was backing their own as the mes of all South Asian countries echoed within the indoor hall.
The epic game between Sri Lanka’s Sachin Dais and Pakistan’s Murad Aliq took the excitement to its heights. The Lankan contingent was vocal and so were their Pakistan counterparts.
However, as Dais gained upperhand during his 25-23, 15-21, 21-15 win, chants of “Sri Lanka Sri Lanka” echoed from every corner.
The Indians too pitched in for their southern neighbours and eventually the Lankans had the last laugh.
However, despite the fierce contests, all along, an inherent bonhomie was apparent in the atmosphere in NEHU, SAI complex.
It was a perfect setting for a “South Asian family”, revelling and engaging with one another through sports thus championing the very cause that motivation behind the hosting of such an event.