|December 15, 1998||
After the feast, the famineC N R Vijaykumar in Bangkok
Jyotirmoyee Sikdar ran into the finals of the 800m to be in line for a rare double at the 13th Asiad in Bangkok today. Keeping her company was compatriot K Rosakutty.
The dimunitive national champion, who set a sizzling pace to bring India its first gold in the 1500m yesterday, was the fourth fastest through to the finals. Heading the field was Japan's Ryoko Takezawa in 2:04.35 sec.
India's hopes of a medal in the women's 4 x100 metre relay were rudely shattered as the quartet of V Jayalakshmi, Rachita Mistry, E B Shyla and P T Usha finished fourth clocking 44.47 seconds.
After yesterday's feast of seven medals including one gold and one silver, Indians faced an anti-climax today in the athletic competitons as the relay team was very much in medal contention, especially considering its past performances.
India took part in only one final this afternoon and the performance was disappointing. Thanks to poor baton-changing, the relay team failed to win even a bronze, coming fourth behind China, Uzbekistan and Thailand.
In July, the Indian quartet of P T Usha, Mistry, Saraswati Dey and E B Shyla had got gold at the Asian Track and Field in Fukuoka (Japan) with a timing of 44.43 sec after the Chinese were disqualified.
Today with Jayalakshmi replacing Dey, at least a bronze was expected. Yet Mistry said, ''The second and third baton changes weren't good.'' Even when the baton was passed to Usha for anchoring, India was in the third place, yet the uninspiring run by the former track queen confirmed once again that she is an ageing legend.
Jayalakshmi gave India a good start but Mistry faltered and could not keep pace with her rivals and when she handed the baton to Shyla, it was all over for the Indians.
Shyla ran bravely but Usha in her home stretch looked fatigued. Though she tried hard, the Indian team was much behind the medal reckoning.
No joy in badminton
The Indian challenge, such as it was, in the badminton event of the 13th Asiad fizzled out, with Pullela Gopichand going down fighting to second-seed Yong Hock-In of Malaysia in the men's singles quarterfinal.
Gopichand put up a brave fight before losing 7-15, 4-15.
Yong had to struggle for every point against the world number 50-ranked Indian shuttler.
Though not well equipped technically or strategically to outclass the fancied player, Gopichand did put up a valiant battle, with the serve changing hand a number of times in the nearly 40-minute match.
The other Indian in the fray here, Aparna Popat, lost in the opening round yesterday.
In the first set, Gopichand lost many points either in the netgame or because his service landed outside. He could not force rallies as the Malaysian was swift enough to go for the kill.
Gopichand, who has earlier lost to the left-handed Yong in the pre-quarterfinals of the All-england open, was at the receiving end most of the time.
Though he managed a couple of smashes and net drops, Gopichand was outsmarted by his tough opponent who, after racing to a 4-1 lead, earned six points in a row to make it 10-1.
Gopichand then fought for every point and managed to reduce the margin to 13-6 and later 14-7, before the Malaysian prevailed and took the set.
The second set saw a couple of rallies but Yong finished almost all of them in his favour.
Gopichand committed many unforced errors to eventually lose the set 15-4 and with it, the match.
Indians crash in table tennis
Chetan Baboor crashed out of the table tennis competition, losing by three straight games to Yen Shu Chang of Chinese Taipei.
Chetan put up a strong fight before going down 14-21, 14-21, 17-21 in a pre-quarterfinal encounter.
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