PALEMBANG/JAKARTA: The low-profile Indian wushu players delivered their best ever performance even in defeat on another high-yielding day for the country at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta on Wednesday.
Four bronze medals were settled for in wushu and though not one Indian in the fray made the finals, it would still go down as the low-profile sport’s best ever performance, in terms of number of medals won, in the Asian Games.
Roshibina Devi (women’s 60kg), Santosh Kumar (men’s 56kg) Surya Bhanu Pratap (men’s 60kg) and Narender Grewal (men’s 65kg) lost their respective semifinal Sanda bouts but will go back home content after the stronger-than-expected showing. The previous best was a silver and a bronze in the 2010 Guangzhou Games.
With four gold, three silver and eight bronze medals in their overall tally, India stood seventh in the medal table, which was led by quite a margin by powerhouse China with 82 medals, including 37 gold.
Two tennis medals were also guaranteed with Ankita Raina and the top-seeded paring of Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan progressing to the semifinals of their respective events.
World number 189 Raina dispatched Hong Kong’s Eudice Chong 6-4, 6-1 to enter the last four of the women’s singles.
Bopanna and Sharan, who don’t have much experience of playing together, came up with a solid performance against the seasoned pairing of Yang Hsieh and Yang Tsung-Hua of Chinese Taipei to win 6-3, 5-7, 10-1.
The rowers also continued their good show and qualified for the final round in three more events.
Rohit Kumar and Bhagwan Singh finished on top in men’s lightweight double sculls repechage round with a time of 7:14.23s to qualify for the final race to be held on August 24.
In the women’s four repechage round, the Indian quartet of Sanjita Dung Dung, Annu, Navneet Kaur and Yamini Singh finished fourth with a time of 7:53.29s but still made it to the final to be held on August 24.
The men’s lightweight eight team was the last to compete and qualified for the final race by coming on top with a time of 6:15.62. The final will be held on August 24.
The Indian women’s compound archery team qualified second for the quarterfinals, pipped by powerhouse Korea in the ranking round.
India were already through to the quarters with a first-round bye and Wednesday’s round only decided the placement of the teams in the draw based on their rankings. India ended up in the bottom half with Korea in the upper half.
But just as any other day, Wednesday was not without its share of heartbreaks and disappointments.
After the high of two gold and a bronze medal in the freestyle competition, India endured a disappointing end to their wrestling campaign with Greco-Roman grappler Harpreet Singh losing his bronze medal bout. Harpreet (87kg) lost 3-6 to Kazakhstan’s Azamat Kustubayev.
Harpreet was India’s lone podium hope after Gurpreet Singh (77kg), Naveen (130kg) and Hardeep (97) failed to reach the medal round.
The Indian men’s volleyball team suffered its first loss of the Games, going down 0-3 to Qatar in a preliminary Pool F match. India lost 15-25, 20-25, 20-25 in 77 minutes.
In taekwando, Navjeet Maan crashed out in the pre-quarterfinals of the 80 kg, ending the Indian men’s campaign. The 24-year-old Maan lost 6-20 to Linglong Chen of China.