Shot-putter Tejinderpal Singh Toor’s record-shattering gold gave a perfect start to India’s athletics campaign and lifted a relatively dull day for the country, which also picked up three singles bronze medals in squash, in the 18th Asian Games.
In the medal standings, India were placed eighth with a compilation of seven gold, five silver and 17 bronze.
Toor, the season’s leader, smashed the Games record and the national record to claim the top prize, something that was expected of him. The 23-year-old was heads and shoulders above the field, throwing the iron ball to 20.75m to better the six-year-old national record of 20.69m in the name of Om Prakash Karhana.
The Indian’s domination can be gauged from the fact that silver-medallist, China’s Liu Yang’s best throw was 19.52m.
The athletics campaign was, in fact, off to a very good start in overall analysis with strong medal hopes such as Muhammed Anas (men’s 400m), Arokia Rajiv (men’s 400m), Hima Das (women’s 400m), Nirmala Sheoran (women’s 400m) advancing to the finals with strong showing in heats as well as semis races.
Dutee Chand (women’s 100m) made the semifinals by winning her heats.
The squash players’ singles campaign ended in the semifinal stage but that was enough to yield three bronze medals, there bes performance in terms of number of medals won.
Seasoned campaigners Saurav Ghosal, a silver-medallist the last time, Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal Karthik lost their respective last-four matches.
Dipika lost to defending champion Nicol David of Malaysia while Joshna was shown the door by Malaysian Sivasangari Subramaniam of Malaysia. Top seed Ghosal lost to Chung Ming Au of Hong Kong China.
“I don’t want make excuses but it’s hurting badly. Against this player, you need to have high intensity. Towards the end of the second game it flared and I lost my intensity. But credit to him for fighting back after losing two sets,” Ghosal said.
The debut sport of bridge also delivered some good news for India as medals were assured in the men’s team and mixed team events. The two teams made the semifinals of their respective competitions. After the qualification rounds, the men’s bridge team was placed fourth while the mixed team took the top spot.
Olympic and World Championship silver-medallist Sindhu outwitted local favourite and world No.22 Gregoria Mariska Tunjung 21-12 21-15 after Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Saina dispatched another crowd-favourite Fitriani 21-6 21-14.
There was no shooting medal to celebrate in Palembang today as the Indians drew a blank in the men’s 25m rapid fire pistol event in which there were expectations from 15-year-old Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Anish Bhanwala.
In the boxing ring, 31-year-old debutant Pavitra (60kg) advanced to the quarterfinals after out-classing Pakistan’s Rukhsana Perveen in a bout that lasted just one round.
But there was no end to India’s archery woes as they continued to misfire. The recurve archers will return empty-handed from the Games with both the men and women’s sides crashing out in the quarterfinals of the team events in Jakarta.
After a disappointing campaign in the individual recurve events, the Indian women’s team lost 2-6 to formidable Chinese Taipei, while the men were beaten by Korea.
Similar was the story of the country’s weightlifters. Commonwealth Games bronze-medallist Vikas Thakur finished eighth in the men’s 94kg category with a total of 335kg (145kg+190kg).
India’s medal chances were also dented in golf after all four players shot over-par scores in the third round of the men’s competition. Rayhan Thomas (73), Aadil Bedi (74), Kshitij Naveed Kaul (76) and Hari Mohan Singh (77) endured disappointing outings.
India, who had a total of 12-under from three best cards to be second after first two days, today slipped to tied fifth place with a total of seven-over from the three best cards.