In a historic achievement, MC Mary Kom carved her name as the first ever Indian woman boxer to win an Asian Games’ gold medal on a day, when three more medals were added India’s tally. Tintu Luka ran a marvelous 800m race in the personal best time of 1:59.19 to win a silver medal. In javelin, Annu Rani came third and got a bronze for her efforts. However, the day also saw disappointing show from wrestlers and other athletes with India slipping back to 11th spot in the medal standing. Another bronze was brought by India’s women in hockey as they beat japan.
Brimming with confidence even before boxing events got underway at Incheon, super boxer Mary Kom finished her brilliant performance in the Asian Games with a gold medal. The arena was full of Indian and Kazak supporters, when Mary Kom appeared in the ring with her opponent Zhaina Shekerbekova of Kazakhstan for the gold medal match in the flyweight class. As usual, four rounds of two minutes each decided the winner. In her earlier matches, Mary always started slow but she made up later in winning her bouts. The 25-year old Kazak woman had entered the final by defeating Mongolian Nandintsetseg Myagmardulum in the semifinal and she pushed Mary in the first round and got the verdict in her favor. In the second round, Mary used a flurry of right punches against the attacking Zhaina with a better overall show and won the round. After that, Mary looked stronger of the two in the third round and riding on her lifetime of experience, she won the third and the last rounds. She made history by clinching the gold medal to a loud applause from Indians. Even Kazak fans stood and applauded Mary.
But there was further bad news for India from the boxing section. Sarita Devi came to the medal ceremony, took her bronze, refusing to wear it around her neck and very strangely, put it around the neck of the silver medal winner, South Korea’s Jina Park. She now faces suspension for her behavior, as the AIBA Supervisor David B. Francis did not take the act kindly. He said that it was regretful that a boxer should refuse the medal regardless of what happened in the competition. Francis added that as the Technical Delegate, he would request OCA to review this incident and insist that no participant should follow what Sarita Devi did. It was against the spirit of fair-play and sportsmanship of the Olympic Movement.
India’s athletes had a mixed day at track-and-field. In women’s 800m, Tintu Lukka won the silver with a timing of 1:59.19. This was the Tintu’s best time ever in the event. She ran a great race and until 50m from finish and led the pack. But on the home stretch, Tintu could not accelerate and lost the gold to Kazakhstan’s defending champion Margarita Mukasheva, who finished in 1:59.02. China’s Jing Zhao got the bronze. Another Indian, Sushma Devi finished 4th. In women’s javelin, India’s Annu Rani hurled the spear just 59.53m to earn the bronze behind two Chinese women, both of whom were far ahead of Annu Rani. The gold winner Li Zhang threw 65.47m to create a new Games Record and her compatriot won the silver with a throw of 61.43m. India’s Jithin Paul was disqualified for making a false start in men’s 400m hurdles but Sajeesh Joseph got elevated to fourth spot in men’s 800m after top three finishers were disqualified. Sajeesh had finished last in the event. In other setbacks, Ashwini Akkunji missed her bronze and finished fourth in 57.52s in women’s 400m hurdles; in women’s triple jump, Mayookha Johny finished ninth and Prajusha Anthony fell out of contention as she could not set a mark in her first three jumps. In50km race-walk, Sandeep Kumar finished fourth and Bahadur Rana fifth.
Indian women took the hockey bronze after defeating Japan 2-1. It was sweet revenge as India had lost to the same team in the bronze medal match of the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou. After a goalless first quarter, Jaspreet Kaur converted a penalty corner in second quarter to put India ahead 1-0. After halftime, Japan equalized, when Akane Shibata made it 1-1. But the charged up Indian women restored the lead through Vanadana Kataria and the match ended at that score with India winning the bronze.
The wrestling arena had only bad news for India. In the 85kg Greco-Roman, Manoj Kumar lost 0-4 against China’s Peng Fei; Gurpreet lost 2-7 against Iran’s Payam Payani in 75kg Greco Roman quarterfinals, though the Indian can get a bronze by default if Payani enters the final; Tulsi Yadav lost 0-10 in 66kg Greco Roman quarterfinal to Khusrav Obloberdiev of Tajikistan and Dharmender Dalal lost 0-8 to Bashir Darzi of Iran in 130kg Greco-Roman quarterfinal.
There were no cheers for Indians in other events as well. Indian men lost in the quarterfinal to Japan 3-2 in volleyball and Indian men’s and women’s table tennis teams crashed out of the competition. In Taekwondo, Nakul Malhotra lost 1-2 against Elias Hedari of Lebanon in 87kg quarterfinal and Anand Pandiarajan lost to Korea’s Yonghyun Park in 80kg Round-of-16. In Canoe Kayak Obstacle Slalom, Ganeshvri Dhurwe finished sixth, Champa Mourya eighth and Namita Chandel tenth in single women’s repechage 1. In men’s events, Prince Parmar finished 15th while Kuldeep Singh Keer failed to qualify.
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