Athletics, squash boost India's medal tally

Shot-putter Tajinderpal Singh Toor’s record-shattering gold gave a perfect start to India’s athletics campaign.

Tajinderpal Singh Toor smashed the Games record and the national record with a 20.75 throw to win gold at Asian Games 2018.   -  AFP

Shot-putter Tajinderpal Singh Toor’s record-shattering gold gave a perfect start to India’s athletics campaign and brightened a relatively dull day for the country, which also picked up three singles bronze medals in squash, at the 18th Asian Games.

In the medal standings, India was placed eighth with seven gold, five silver and 17 bronze medals.

Good day in Athletics

Toor, the season’s leader, smashed the Games record and the national record to claim the top prize. The 23-year-old was heads and shoulders above the rest, throwing the iron ball 20.75m to better the Om Prakash Karhana's six-year-old national record of 20.69m.

ALSO READ: Tejinder Pal Singh Toor breaks record, wins shot put gold

The Indian’s domination could be gauged from the fact that silver-medallist China’s Liu Yang’s best throw was 19.52m.

The athletics campaign was off to a good start with medal prospects such as Muhammed Anas (men’s 400m), Arokia Rajiv (men’s 400m), Hima Das (women’s 400m) and Nirmala Sheoran (women’s 400m) advancing to the finals with strong showing in heats as well as semis. Hima Das broke the 400m national record as she finished her race with a time of 51.00s.

Dutee Chand (women’s 100m) also made the semifinals after winning her heat.

Settling for bronze

The squash players’ singles campaign came to an at the semifinal stage as Saurav Ghosal, Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal Karthik lost their respective matches. The three of them had to settle for bronze medals, but it was India's best performance at the Asiad in terms of medals won.

ALSO READ: All three singles squash players settle for bronze medals

Dipika lost to defending champion Nicol David of Malaysia and Joshna was shown the door by 19-year-old Malaysian Sivasangari Subramaniam. Top seed and last edition's silver medallist Ghosal lost to Hong Kong China's Chung Ming Au.

“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.

Saurav Ghosal lost 2-3 to Hong Kong's Chung Min Au in the men's singles semifinals at Asian Games 2018.   -  PTI

 

The debut sport of bridge assured medals for India in the men’s team and mixed team events as 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.

The women’s hockey team also continued its fine run in the tournament and advanced to the semifinals with a 4-1 triumph over defending champions South Korea. Two penalty corner conversions from Gurjit Kaur late in the game, sealed the match for India.

In badminton, top shuttlers P. V. Sindhu and Saina Nehwal advanced to the women’s singles quarterfinals after beating their respective opponents in straight games. Olympic silver-medallist Sindhu outwitted local favourite and world No.22 Gregoria Mariska Tunjung 21-12 21-15. Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Saina dispatched another crowd-favourite Fitriani 21-6 21-14.

ALSO READ: Sindhu, Saina progress; bad day for Indian doubles

There was no shooting medal to celebrate in Palembang today. Indians drew a blank in the men’s 25m rapid fire pistol event, especially 15-year-old Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Anish Bhanwala, who couldn't meet expectations.

PV Sindhu outwitted local favourite and world No.22 Gregoria Mariska Tunjung 21-12 21-15 to progress to the quarterfinals.   -  AP

 

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.

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.

ALSO READ: Teenage prodigy Bhanwala disappoints following CWG high

After a disappointing campaign in the individual recurve events, the Indian women’s team lost 2-6 to 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 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, which had a total of 12-under from three best cards to be second after first two days, on Saturday slipped to tied fifth place with a total of seven-over from the three best cards.