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Rediff.com  » Sports » CWG: Chanu, Gururaja give India a dream start on Day 1

CWG: Chanu, Gururaja give India a dream start on Day 1

Last updated on: April 05, 2018 23:13 IST

Mirabai Chanu

IMAGE: A jubilant Mirabai Chanu poses with her gold medal. Photograph: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

A record-smashing Mirabai Chanu and a perseverant P Gururaja claimed gold and silver respectively as weightlifters lived up to the pre-event hype by delivering opening-day medals for India while star badminton players added to the cheer by making a winning start in the 21st Commonwealth Games, at the Gold Coast in Australia, on Thursday.

Chanu smashed the Commonwealth Games records in 48kg category snatch, clean and jerk and overall en route her gold-medal winning performance, which fetched her a thunderous applause from Australian fans, who queued up to take her autograph after the medal ceremony.

Chanu managed to lift 196kg (86kg+110kg) in a remarkable effort.

 

"I was not expecting to break records but I certainly wanted to break them when I came here. I can't put in words, how it feels right now," an exhausted but jubilant Chanu said.

Gururaja Poojary

IMAGE: IMAGE: Gururaja Poojary competes during the weightlifting 56kg final on day one of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. Photograph: PTI

Earlier, Gururaja survived a few anxious moments after two failed attempts in clean and jerk to claim the silver medal. The 25-year-old son of a truck driver equalled his personal best of 249kg (111kg+138kg) to finish second in the event and ensure that India woke up to the news of a medal on the very first day of competitions.

"After I failed the first two attempts, my coach reminded me how much my life depends on this. I remembered my family and my country," he said when asked what went through his mind in those nervy moments.

M Raja (62kg) was the third weightlifter in contention on Day 1 but he lost out to much superior competition and finished sixth overall with a total effort of 266kg (116kg+150kg).

Kidambi Srikanth

IMAGE: Srikanth Kidambi plays a shot as he competes against Sri Lanka during the Badminton Mixed Team Group Play Stage - Group A. Photograph: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

The much-hyped shuttlers also made a winning start to their campaign, defeating Sri Lanka and Pakistan 5-0 respectively in the mixed team event matches.

Saina Nehwal, who was making headlines for her ferocity in getting Games Village accreditation for her father, brought quite a lot of it on court as well and dispatched her rival Madushika Beruelage in a mere 22 minutes.

Later against Pakistan’s Mahoor Shahzad she played in her usual clinical fashion, claiming a straight-game triumph in 26 minutes to ensure that India had a winning day to celebrate.

India's Manoj Kumar celebrates after his victory against Nigeria's Osita Umeh on Day 1 of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at Oxenford Studios on the Gold Coast, on Thursday

IMAGE: India's Manoj Kumar celebrates after his victory against Nigeria's Osita Umeh on Day 1 of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at Oxenford Studios on the Gold Coast, on Thursday. Photograph: Jason O'Brien/Getty Images

Veteran Manoj Kumar (69kg) was the lone boxer in action on Thursday and the 2010 CWG gold-medallist hammered Nigeria's Osita Umeh to move into the pre-quarterfinals. The former Asian medallist won on a unanimous decision.

On the squash court, Dipika Pallikal and Joshna Chinnappa, who would be defending their women's doubles gold medal, made winning starts in their singles matches.

While Pallikal got the better of Trinidad and Tobago's Charlotte Knaggs, Chinnappa sailed past Papua and New Guinea Lynette Vai.

But Saurav Ghosal's 2-3 defeat to Jamaica's Chris Binnie came as a massive shocker even though Harinder Pal Sandhu and Vikram Malhotra won their respective opening matches.

IMAGE: India's Rani Rampal tries to make her way past Tina Evans of Wales. Photograph: Getty Images

"It's hard because this is the biggest thing for us squash players and I planned a lot over the last year and put in a lot of hard work. Obviously it hasn't worked out and it's something I have to live with for the rest of my life," the dejected world No.13 Ghosal said after the loss.

"It wasn't the best match to play from the first point. It was not the way I was taught to play squash. I guess you have to find a way whatever circumstances you are in, but I couldn't find that way to win," he added.

Apart from Ghosal, the other major disappointment was the women's hockey team's stunning 2-3 defeat against Wales in its lung-opener.

IMAGE: India compete in the women's 4000m Team Pursuit qualifying. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

In the swimming pool, Virdhawal Khade qualified for the semi-finals of the 50m men's butterfly event but could not make the final, finishing 15th overall. Sajan Prakash failed to even make the semi-finals in the same event.

The Indians were not much of a force on the cycling track either, finishing sixth in the Women's Team Sprint, which ruled them out of medal contention. The men's team did even worse, finishing seventh in their competition.

The table tennis players got past their initial hurdles rather easily with the women's team defeating Sri Lanka 3-0. The men's team blanked Trinidad and Tobago 3-0 before beating Northern Ireland by a similar margin.

India's Rakesh Patra has qualified for the rings apparatus final in the men's artistic gymnastics event.

Patra only took part in the rings and parallel bars scoring 13.950 and 13.350 respectively.

He made the final in fifth spot behind Courtney Tulloch (15.200), Niles Wilson (14.750), Renee Cournoyer (14.200) and Scott Morgan (14.200). The final will be held on Sunday.

In the team event, India finished ninth and last after aggregating 174 points, the lowest score in the field. Ashish Kumar, Patra and Yogeshwar Singh were the other members of the team.

Singapore finished eighth but their overall score was 206, 32 points more than what India managed.

England won the gold with 258 points, ahead of Canada and Scotland, who aggregated 248 and 240 points respectively.

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