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Rediff.com  » Sports » CWG: Sushil, Aware lead India's medal surge on Day 8

CWG: Sushil, Aware lead India's medal surge on Day 8

Last updated on: April 12, 2018 22:33 IST

Rahul Aware

IMAGE: Wrestler Rahul Aware celebrates after winning the gold medal in the men's 57kg freestyle wrestling at the Commonwealth Games. Photograph: PTI

The wrestling gold rush began as expected and the shooting ranges also threw up medals before a couple of track and field podium finishes provided a near-perfect end to what was a high-yielding day for India at the 21st Commonwealth Games, Gold Coast, on Thursday.

Sushil Kumar came up with an effortless performance for gold, a tad irritated Seema Punia opened India's track-and-field account by winning a silver, while former World champion Tejaswini Sawant's rifle shot down a silver too.

 

In all, India claimed two gold, three silver and a bronze on Thursday, shoring up the overall medal count to 31.

However, the country continued to be third on the medals table, behind Australia and England respectively.

India have 14 gold, 7 silver and 10 bronze thus far.

 

The day started with a silver at the Belmont Shooting Centre, in Brisbane, where Sawant added a second silver to her Commonwealth Games collection of medals in the women's 50m rifle prone event.

Sushil Kumar

IMAGE: Sushil Kumar in action against South African wrestler Johannes Botha in the men's freestyle 74kg wrestling final. Photograph: PTI

And then began the medal rush at the Carrara Sports and Leisure centre where the wrestlers snared four -- two gold, a silver and bronze.

Defending champion Sushil (74kg) barely spent time on the mat. His final against South Africa’s Johannes Botha lasted just a minute and 20 seconds as he scored easy victories to claim his third successive gold at the Games, a love affair that began in the 2010 Delhi edition.

"When I am fit I try to ensure that I win in this way (the way he won on Thursday). When I am not fit I don't fight. I am fit right now," he said, in a crisp analysis of his performance.

Joining him in the gold-grabbers’ list was Rahul Aware (57kg), the man who finally found his moment of glory after 10 years of struggle.

Ignored for big events, sometimes without a trial, Aware fought through a groin niggle in a pulsating final against Canada's Steven Takahashi.

"I have been waiting for this medal for the last 10 years. I can't describe how it feels to claim it. I missed out on 2010; even in 2014, the team was sent without trials. So I am very happy that I could finally fulfill this dream," said the 26-year-old, the reigning Commonwealth Championships gold medallist.

However, another defending champion, Babita phogat (53kg), had to settle for a silver, while debutant Kiran happily flaunted a hard-earned bronze.

Kiran defeated Mauritian Katouskia Pariadhaven by fall in the repechage of the 76kg category for her first major medal at the international level.

"I think my weakness today was my attack, I should have been more aggressive but I gave my 100 per cent. I am satisfied with the intensity I put in but obviously I could not get the result I wanted," she said.

Seema Punia

IMAGE: Seema Punia competes in the women's discus throw final. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

In the evening, Seema Punia and Navjeet Kaur Dhillon won silver and bronze medals respectively in the women's discus throw to end the day on a high for India.

There were good results coming through on the badminton court as well with stars such as Saina Nehwal, P V Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth on course for medals in the individual events after advancing to the quarter-finals with another set of comprehensive victories.

Manika Batra

IMAGE: Manika Batra competes in the women's singles table tennis. Photograph: Jono Searle/Getty Images

The paddlers and squash players too continued to move ahead without any major hiccups and the weekend should add considerably to India's medal kitty.

However, the day was not completely free of disappointment as the women's hockey team bowed out of final contention after losing 0-1 to hosts Australia in the semi-final.

They will now compete for the bronze medal against Olympic champions England.

England were beaten 2-1 in a penalty shoot-out by New Zealand after the teams were locked goalless at full-time.

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