Sri Lanka and Pakistan achieve a first in badminton - thanks to Badminton Asia
They did not get a podium finish but yet they walked off the court with their heads held with pride as their respective countries took another giant step towards winning a medal in the future Commonwealth Games.
At the 21st Commonwealth Games which came to a close in Gold Coast, Australia on Sunday (April 15), Sri Lanka and Pakistan shuttlers under Badminton Asia's Asia Olympic Program (AOP) achieved a milestone that speaks volumes of what is to come from them in the sport.
Sri Lanka's men's doubles pair Buwaneka Goonethilleka and Angoda Sachin Dias, both 21, became the first players from their country to reach the semi-finals in Commonwealth Games.
Ranked 202 in the Badminton World Federation (BWF) rankings Buwaneka-Sachin reached the semi-finals but fell to India's Satwik Rankireddy-Chirag Chandrasekhar 18-21, 10-21.
The defeat was painful but big boost to their badminton career.
The pair thanked Badminton Asia for enabling them to reach a new "milestone" in their badminton career and are ready to scale new heights.
"Badminton is very competitive among Commonwealth Games' countries. The defeat in the semis was painful but we can take pride that we came this far and you will hear more from us in the future.
"We thank Badminton Asia for making it possible.
Without doubt we have improved overall in our game under Badminton Asia's AOP programme.
Reaching the semi-finals in Gold Coast is an achievement for us and badminton in our country.
"At the same time we are aware that there is lot more hard work to be done for us to reach a higher level.
We hope Badminton Asia will continue to support and assist us in training and tournament participation," said Buwaneka.
Buwaneka and Sachin came under the AOP wings in 2014 and the same year competed in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Pakistan badminton also "rode high" in the shuttle sport when Mahoor Shahzad, who joined the AOP this year, reached the Round of 16 in the women's singles.
The 21-year-old was stopped by Canada's Rachel Honderich in straight games 21-17, 21-10. Just like any others who lose a match the defeat to the Canadian was painful for Mahoor.
At the same time Mahoor takes many positives that came along playing in the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast - richer in experience and international exposure.
Badminton Asia, under its AOP, have taken great pains to take the sport to the lesser known badminton playing nations in the Asian continent.
The positive results shown by the badminton "minnows" is a step in the right direction.
"Buwaneka , Sachin and Mahoor are just some of the 'bright sparks' in our efforts to have more players from the Asian continent making a mark in the sport at international level.
"Badminton Asia will continue helping Asian countries in terms of training and participation in international tournaments," said Moosa Nashid, Badminton Asia's Chair of Development.