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|December 7, 1998||
Indians have a miserable day at Bangkok
Harpal Singh Bedi and C N R Vijaykumar in Bangkok
A string of failures clouded India's fortunes on the second day of the 13th Asian Games in the Thai capital today.
Its best hope in snooker, former Asian champion Yasin Merchant, went down 4-5 to Malaysian Sam Chong in the quarterfinals today.
Geet Sethi, playing the first carom championship, lost 23-50 in the singles to Reynaldo Gradea of the Philippines.
Medal contender Kunjarani Devi failed to lift the sagging Indian spirits, finishing last in the 48kg class in the women's weightlifting event. Tiny Liu Xiuhua of China snatched a world record 83.5kg and won the gold with a total of 187.5kg.
The Indian women shooters were miserably off target, failing to qualify in the 10m air-rifle event (individual and team) while on the football pitch the debutante Indian eves were blanked 0-7 by South Korea.
Judoka Kamla Rawat crashed out of contention without a fight. In the 48kg category, Rawat, touted as India's best judoka, lost to South Korean Oh Soon Young in just 1.05 minutes.
Rawat, winner of the gold medal at the Vietnam International Meet and the Bangkok International earlier this year, just could not tackle her Korean rival.
In men's volleyball, formidable China spiked Indian hopes in straight sets.
In women's football, India, who finished seventh in the last Asian championship, went down without a whimper to the nippy South Koreans.
The men rallied well, but a goal too late. Trailing 0-3 till the 83rd minute, the Indians fought back gamely, losing 2-3 to Turkmenistan in a quarterfinal league match.
Indian women shooters were wide off target at the Huamark Ranges in the 10m air-rifle (individual and team) events. Anuja Tere was the best, but it was not enough. She scored 388 out of a possible 400 in the qualifying round to finish 16th. Though she opened with a good 99 in the first volley, she faded away in the next three rounds scoring 97, 97 and 95.
Suma Dixit, who fired four points less than Tere, had her best of 98 in the second round. Her other scores were 97 in the first and 96 and 94 in the third and fourth, respectively. Anjali Vedpathak had a card of 380 (93, 94, 96, 97).
The men were no better, none qualifying for the finals of three events slated for the day. Korea and Kazakhstan took the gold medals.
The Indian skeetsmen failed miserably in the qualifying rounds with Rao Birendra Singh firing only 66 of a possible 75 while H S Bedi (65) and Rahoul Singh (60) finished way behind.
Sergei Yakshin (Kazakhstan) had the full score of 75, followed by Salah al-Mutari (73) of Kuwait and Xindong Zhang (China) 72 with four others. The second round of skeet will be held tomorrow.
The only creditable performance in shooting came from Satendra Kumar who narrowly missed qualifying for the free pistol final. He scored 552 points.
The Indians, who have brought 19 shooters to Bangkok, now hope to grab some medals through Jaspal Rana who won the gold in the centre-fire pistol event at the Hiroshima Games in 1994.
India rounded off the day with the women's swimming relay squad finishing last in the 2x400m freestyle.
The quartet of Sikha Tandon, Richa Mishra, Meghana Narayan and Nisha Millet, which was allowed to participate in the final as there were only eight teams in the fray, clocked 9 minutes 02.71 seconds.
China won the gold in a record time of 8:08.00. Japan and Taiwan finished second and third, respectively, clocking 8:12.06 and 8:18.92.
Nothing exciting was expected from the Indian quartet, which was sent to get international exposure. They have hardly participated in any international event and their age group -- 13 (Tandon) to 16 (Millet) -- is said to be just right for such exposure.
Mail Prem Panicker
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