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Women athletes boost India
December 09, 2006 21:49 IST
Women power came to the fore for India at the Asian Games on Saturday with athletes Soma Biswas, Santhi Soundarajan, J J Shobha, and the tennis team climbing the podium.
Heptathletes Soma and national record holder Shobha picked up a silver and a bronze respectively in the two-day, seven-event discipline while Santhi finished second in the women's half mile race.
Their fine efforts came on the back of the women's tennis team winning a silver when India, spearheaded by their number one Sania Mirza, bowed to Chinese Taipei in the gold medal contest.
The Indian team lost 1-2 in the tie that finished early this morning after starting late last night.
Not to be outdone by the women, super heavyweight (plus 91 kg) boxer Verghese Johnson picked up a silver medal as India kept their fifth spot in the medals table with a heist of six gold, twelve silver and eleven bronze.
China was by far the clear leaders with 99-54-26 in their kitty followed by Japan (31-38-45), Korea (24-30-55) and Kazakhstan (13-9-25).
All round athletes Soma logged 5675 points in heptathlon while Shobha accumulated 5662 points to finish behind gold medal winner Olga Rypakova of Kazakhstan (5955).
Shobha, however, performed well below her personal and India best of 6211 points she had created in March 2004 at Delhi.
Santhi ran a slow but well-judged race to pick up the silver in the women's 800m clocking 2 minutes, 3.16 seconds.
The gold went to Mariam Yusuf Jamal of Bahrain who romped home in 2:01.79 and the bronze was claimed by Kazakhstan's Viktoriya Yalovtseva in 2:03.19.
But Shiv Shankar Yadav finished a poor seventh out of 12 competitors in men's long jump final with 7.64 metres as his best in six attempts out of which three were fouls.
The event was won by Saudi Arabia's Al Saba Hussain Taher with a leap of 8.02m.
India also were firmly on course for the chess mixed team gold despite a shock loss by women's individual gold winner Koneru Humpy against Qatar's Chinese-born Zhu Chen.
In the men's section, K Sasikaran and P Harikrishna pulled off wins over their Qatari rivals to help India clinch the tie 2-1 and take the tally to 7.5, half a point ahead of second placed Vietnam.
Away from tennis and chess, the scenario was gloomy with two grapplers exiting from the Greco Roman event and the men's and women's squads continued their dismal outing in sepak takraw event.
On the wrestling mat, India made a dismal start to their campaign when three Greco-Roman style grapplers made their exits with only one of the trio winning his bout and then making his bow.
Indian men and women continued their floundering and blundering ways in the little-followed South East Asian sport of sepak takraw.
The men were outclassed 2-0 by Malaysia in a regu match and were lying fourth in the table in their group with two points from three ties with their last tie against Myanmar scheduled to be played.
In a women's group regu match, India lost to Korea 0-2 in 34 minutes to finish at the bottom in the four-team group without a point to their credit.
Doha Asian Games 2006: The Complete Coverage