Olympic bronze-medallist M C Mary Kom led the charge as Indian women boxers packed a powerful punch by assuring themselves of medals in each of the three weight categories at the 17th Asian Games, in Incheon on Sunday.
Mary Kom (51kg), L Sarita Devi (60kg) and Pooja Rani (75kg) entered the semi-finals of their respective weight categories with commanding victories.
Mary Kom kicked off the proceedings in the ring for India for a second successive day and once again gave a perfect start, against Si Haijuan of China.
Facing an opponent 10 years her junior, the five-time world champion Indian drew from her huge reservoir of experience to outwit the rather sprightly Chinese.
Sluggish to begin with, the Manipuri found her rhythm as the bout progressed, displaying precision in her punches.
Particularly impressive in the second round, Mary seemed on course for a comfortable win but was taken by surprise in the third round, in which Haijuan tactfully blunted the Indian's attack.
However, mere glimpses of promise were never going to be enough against the multiple-time Asian champion, whose well-timed combination punches hardly found any response from the Chinese in the fourth and final round.
In the end, Haijuan paid for her lack of experience against a seasoned campaigner, who was in control of the pace of the bout. Mary Kom will now be up against Vietnam's Le Thi Bang in the semi-final.
Energy-sapping duel for Sarita
Sarita, on the other hand, endured an energy-sapping slug fest against Mongolia's Suvd Erdene Oyungerel but was a clear winner.
The Indian managed to come out triumphant as her blows landed clearly. She was also tactful in defence, fighting her opponent from a long range to ensure that even well-timed punches from Oyungerel lacked in impact.
Sarita will now face Korean Jina Park in the last-four stage.
Pooja then rounded off an all-win day for the women by out-punching Shen Dara Flora of Chinese Taipei in her quarter-final bout.
Pooja capitalised on her rival's poor defence, pummeling her torso with sharp uppercuts and targetting the temple with powerful hooks.
Agile in moving back whenever Shen tried jab, the nimble-footed Pooja relied on counter-attack in the second round. Pooja's reflexes, in fact, made all the difference against Shen, who looked sluggish as far as ring craft was concerned.
Pooja upped the ante in the next two rounds, completely draining Shen into submission to emerge victorious. She will next face Li Qian of China in the semi-final.
Khushbir scripts history, wins silver in 20km race walk
Khushbir Kaur became the first Indian woman on Sunday to win a medal in race walking in the Asian Games as she clinched a silver in 20km event on the second day of the athletics competition.
The 21-year-old from Amritsar clocked 1:33:07 to finish behind Lu Xiuzhi of China, who won the gold in 1:31:06, at the Marathon Course.
The Indian, who holds the national record of 1:31:40, was consistently third till the 18km mark before going up a position in the final two kilometres, thanks largely to the slowing down of second-placed Chinese Nie Jingjing, who eventually finished fourth.
Bronze for Sania-Prarthana in tennis doubles
The Indian pair of Sania Mirza and Prarthana Thombare settled for a bronze after losing their women's doubles semi-final to Chinese Taipei's Chin Wei Chan and Su Wei Hsiehin in the Asian Games, in Incheon on Sunday.
The fifth seeded Indian combo put up a brave fight before going down 6-7, (1-7), 6-2, 10-4 to the Chinese Taipei pair, seeded second, at the Yeorumul Tennis Courts.
Error-prone Yuki settles for bronze
Yuki Bhambri clinched India's lone singles medal in tennis at the ongoing Asian Games, settling for a bronze in the men's event after unforced errors cost him the semi-final against Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka on Sunday.
A profligate Yuki lost the match 6-3, 2-6, 1-6 in one hour and 46 minutes.
India's men and women beat Bangladesh in Kabaddi
India made a resounding start in kabaddi with both the men's and women's teams thrashing Bangladesh in their opening preliminary round matches at the Songdo Global University Gymnasium in Incheon.
The Indian women's team was the first to get across their Bangladeshi counterparts, trouncing them 29-18 in a Pool A match.
The men's team then brushed aside the Bangladeshi men 30-15 to start their campaign on a positive note in Pool A, which also consists of Thailand and Pakistan.
In the men's team, India dished out a dominating show as they pocketed a huge 10-point lead after finishing the first half 16-6 ahead. Though the Bangladeshi put up a slightly better show after the break but still India managed to end the second half with a 14-9 advantage.
The women's team rode on their brilliant first half, where they zoomed to 22-5 at the interval. The Bangladeshi eves did turn the tables in the second half with a 13-7 scoreline but it was not enough to erase the first half deficit.
The men's team will be up against Thailand on Monday, while the Indian eves will take on Korea on Tuesday in their second and final Pool A tie.
Khambatta qualifies for Equestrian Jumping Individual Final
India's Yashaan Zubin Khambatta, riding a horse named Olgy, qualified for the Equestrian Jumping Individual Final Round.
In an event that tests the ability of horse and rider to jump fences without knocking them down, Khambatta committed a total of 29 penalties to manage a 35th place finish at the Dream Park.
The 25-year-old Indian added eight and one penalty in jump and time respectively to finish 32nd in the Jumping Individual first qualifier.
He failed to bring home a better performance in the second qualifier as he further added 16 and four faults in jump and time respectively to end at the 35th place.
Other Indians in the fray, Sehaj Virk and Ashray Butta crashed out in the Jumping Team Round 1.
India have won 10 medals, including three golds, in Equestrian event ever since its entry in the Asian Games at the Delhi Games in 1982.
Indian spikers go down fighting against South Korea
The Indian men's volleyball team put up a spirited fight against the much-fancied South Korea before losing 22-25, 25-27, 18-25 in a closely contested group E play-off match at the Asian Games on Sunday.
While India may have lost the encounter in three straight sets, they gave a tough fight to the host nation in each of the three with the first two going down to the wire.
What cost India the match was off-form of 6ft 9 inch spiker GR Vaishnav, who could garner only four points for his team.
While veteran Punjab player Gurinder Singh was impressive at the net with 13 points, Naveen Raja Jacob also got 10 points with his deceptive drops.
The Indian men will play their next group league play-off against Qatar on Monday.
Canoeing and Kayaking: Indians reach six finals
After hiring high quality international boats on reaching Incheon, the Indian men and women paddlers reached six out of eleven finals in canoeing and kayaking at the 17th Asian Games on Sunday.
The Indians entered the finals of five men's and one women's events, with Gaurav Tomar even winning his semi-final race in the men's 1000m C1 event at the Hanam Misari Center and the duo of S Ajit Kumar and Rajiv Rawat taking the second place in men's 1000m C2.
Tomar finished ahead of Korea's Kim Taeun by overtaking the home country paddler over the last 250m.
Expressing satisfaction at India's performance, team manager and secretary general of the national canoeing and kayaking federation Balbir Singh Khushwaha said that they had in fact hired 'Nelo and Pastex' boats which are used by 99.99 per cent of racers in the world.
"We don't have such boats in our country and there are automatic starting blocks to push the boats once the gun is fired, which too are not there anywhere in our country," Khushwaha said.
Tomar showed his paddling skills as he covered the 1000m distance in men's C1 semi-final in 4:18.956 to qualify for the finals by topping the list while in C1 men's doubles Ajit Kumar and Rawat clocked 4:02.971 to finish second in the 1000m semi-final to qualify for Monday finals.
Robert Raj Selvaraj too qualified for the finals of the men's kayak singles after clocking 3:58.234 to finish third in the 1000m semi-final race.
Ragina Kiro and Nanao Devi Ahongshangbam were the only women to make it to the finals, when they took the third spot by clocking 1:52.975 in the K2 500m semi-finals.
Also to make the finals were the K4 quartet of Ajit Singh, Sunny Kumar, Ramesh Golli and A Chingsingh Singh and O Jamesboy Singh who finished third in C1 200m in 42.996.
Indian entrants in five other races failed to enter the finals.
In the 1000m K2, Sunny Kumar and Chingching Singh Arambam finished fourth by clocking 3:37.915 and were eliminated.
The duo also failed to make a mark in the K2 short sprint held over 200m as they finished a poor seventh in the semi-finals.
Anusha Biju made her exit from two events -- women's K1 raced over 200m and 500m in which she finished 6th (48.751) and 5th (2:11.956) respectively.
Indian handball teams lose in Asiad
The Indian handball teams continued with their listless show as both the men's and women's units lost their respective classification matches on Sunday.
The Indian men finished 14th after going down 25-32 to United Arab Emirates in the 13th-14th Place Classification match at the Seonhak Handball Gymnasium.
The women's team lost 26-44 against Uzbekistan in 5th-8th place Classification tie. They will next play the women's classification 7th-8th place on September 30.
In the men's team classification match, the Indians trailed the UAE team 13-17 in the first half before losing the second half 12-15.
The UAE players were incisive in their striking with Aldhanhani Ahmed Abdulla being the top-scorer, converting six of eight shots he took at the goal. Waheed Al Balooshi sent in four in his six attempts.
Manpreet Singh Bassi top-scored for the Indian team, converting seven of eight shots at the goal, while Vasu Binu scored five out of six chances he got.
Meanwhile, Indian girls were lagging 11-22 in the opening 30 minutes before they made it 15-22 in the second half.
Angelina Goloskokova and Ekaterina Khalmuratova were the top-scorers for Uzbekistan with both converting seven times successfully.
India's Manisha converted as many as 10 out of 13 shots at the goal, while Sanjeeta managed to score seven times in her 12 attempts.
Indian men, women lose in TT quarter-finals
The Indian paddlers' campaign in the Asian Games ended after the men's team, led by Achanta Sharath Kamal, and the women's outfit lost in the quarter-finals stage to China and Singapore respectively.
In the men's team quarterfinals, India's top player Kamal was tamed 3-0 by world number one Xu Xin in just 21 minutes to get China off to a brilliant start. Kamal lost 7-11, 7-11, 7-11.
In the second match, Harmeet Desai was taken care of by Ma Long 1-3 in 27 minutes, losing it 5-11, 11-7, 2-11, 6-11.
In the third match, Sanil Shetty was blanked 3-0 by Zhendong in barely 16 minutes. He lost 2-11, 11-13, 1-11 at the Suwon Gymnasium.
The result was similar in women's section also as they had no answer to the players from Singapore who won the quarter-final 3-0.
Manika Batra lost to Tianwei Feng 0-3 in 22 minutes. The Indian lost the first match 7-11, 8-11, 7-11.
In the second match, Ankita Das was shown the door by Ye Lin 1-3 in 31 minutes. Das lost her match 9-11, 8-11, 6-11, 8-11.
Singapore sealed the issue in their favour after Yihan Zhou outclassed veteran player Poulomi Ghatak 3-0 in only 20 minutes. Ghatak lost the match 5-11, 13-11, 9-11.
Earlier in the day, the Indian men and women had lost their team preliminary round group B matches to South Korea and China respectively.