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Rediff.com  » Sports » Asian Games, Day 2: Vinesh sparkles for India; shooters add silver

Asian Games, Day 2: Vinesh sparkles for India; shooters add silver

August 20, 2018 23:40 IST

Vinesh Phogat's gold medal was India's first since women's wrestling was introduced at the Asian Games in 2002.

Vinesh Phogat

IMAGE: Vinesh Phogat celebrates after winning the gold medal in the women's wrestling 50kg category at the Asian Games. Photograph: PTI

Vinesh Phogat expectedly delivered a historic wrestling gold, the shooters picked up momentum with a couple of silver medals and an unexpected podium finish was assured in Sepak Takraw on a fairly good day for India at the 18th Asian Games.

 

Adding to the cheer was the defending gold medallist men's hockey team's 17-0 hammering of hosts Indonesia in its pool A lung-opener.

There was disappointment too on Monday, with an Olympic-medallist wrestler Sakshi Malik finishing without a medal for the second day running, seven-time gold winner men's kabaddi team losing for the first time in its Games' history and both the men's and women's badminton teams getting knocked out of medal hunt.

However, there was plenty to celebrate and Vinesh's gold was the biggest reason for it. It was India's first gold since women's wrestling was introduced in the Games in 2002 at the Busan edition.

The Haryana grappler, who will turn 24 this Saturday, gave herself an early birthday present with a performance that was all style, brushing aside her opponents with remarkable ease in the 50 kg category.

"I had targeted gold. I had 3-4 silvers at the Asian level and I was determined to win gold today. My body responded well because I had trained well and God was also kind. So everything mixed up well for me today," a teary-eyed Vinesh said after the triumph.

Deepak Kumar

IMAGE: Deepak Kumar won the silver medal in the men's 10m air rifle. Photograph: Edgar Su/Reuters

At the shooting ranges of Palembang, Deepak Kumar (10m air rifle) and Lakshay Sheoran (men's trap) added the silver touch, while the men's sepak takraw team created a flutter by advancing to the semi-finals away from the spotlight.

It was a case of breakthrough medals for both Deepak and Lakshay, shooters with contrasting career paths.

The 33-year-old Deepak did not mind the long wait for a major medal, 14 years after he picked up the sport.

Lakshay, on the other hand, picked up the gun only four years ago as a teenager and, at 20, is now a silver-medallist at the Asiad, equalling the feat achieved by former World champion Manavjit Singh Sandhu at the 2006 Doha edition.

There was good news coming in for India in the rowing competition as well. Dushyant Chauhan and the Indian men's quadruple sculls team finished first in their respective heats to reach the final.

Dushyant, who won a bronze at the single sculls in the Incheon Games four years ago, clocked 7:43.08s to emerge the fastest in heat 1 and second overall.

The quartet of Sawarn Singh, Dattu Baban Bhokanal, Om Prakash and Sukhmeet Singh qualified comfortably for the final, clocking  6:15.18 seconds. They finished the fastest overall.

IMAGE: Indian tennis players Ankita Raina and Prarthana Thombare celebrate after beating Pakistan's Sarah M Khan and Mehaq Khokhar in the women's doubles match. Photograph: PTI

On the tennis court, India's singles specialists, including second seed Ramkumar Ramanathan and Ankita Raina, made smooth starts, also in Palembang. Joining them was Karman Kaur Thandi, who won comfortably to make the next round.

It was Jakarta which gave India the biggest moment of the day in Vinesh's gold but it was also Jakarta where some major disappointments came the country’s way.

The biggest perhaps was Sakshi's medal-less campaign, which ended with an embarrassing loss on Technical Superiority to North Korea's Sim Jong Rim. The final scoreline read 2-12 and added another big-ticket disappointment to Sakshi's CV after the bronze in a lacklustre Commonwealth Games field earlier this year.

Similar was the story of the star-studded badminton teams, both of which went out in the quarter-final stage.

Olympic silver medallist P V Sindhu and H S Prannoy shone bright but couldn't get enough support from the rest as India lost in the women's and men's team events respectively.

Saina Nehwal

IMAGE: Saina Nehwal in action. Photograph: PTI

After the women's team went down 1-3 to top seeds Japan early in the day, the men's team put up a spirited effort before losing 1-3 to hosts Indonesia, knocking them out of medal contention.

A shock loss to Korea gave the seemingly invincible kabaddi team a reality check but their medal hopes remain alive as it was a Group A game.

India lost 23-24 to South Korea, who won the bronze medal at the Incheon Games four years ago, in a match that went down to the wire.

The Indian gymnastics contingent also had a disappointing day in office as they failed to qualify for the final in the men's team event, finishing ninth with a score of 229.950, 0.35 points behind Iran.

The men's team comprised 2010 bronze-medallist Ashish Kumar, Rakesh Patra, Gaurav Kumar, Yogeswar Singh and Siddharth Verma.

At the Aquatics centre, India made the final of the 4x200m but the quartet of Shrihari Natraj, Saurabh Sangvekar, Avinash Mani and Neel Roy ended up seventh overall with a timing of 31.90 seconds.

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