After a good start on day 1, India’s medal hunt at the Incheon Asiad could only fetch them only one more shooting bronze on the second day. There were some close finishes but by and large, performance in several events was disappointing. The bronze came in the team event in the 10m Air Pistol shooting where the Indian men’s team comprising of Prakash Nanjappa, Samaresh Jung and Day 1 poster boy Jitu Rai finished third. India’s weightlifters yielded their worst performance as all three participants finished at the bottom half of the table in their categories. In rowing, India’s men and women teams sparked hope as lightweight men’s team for double sculls two and women’s pair qualified for the final rounds. Dipika Pallikal and Saurav Ghosal entered the individual events’ in squash semifinals and ensured two medals for India. Some good news for India came in women’s team badminton after their hard-fought victory against Thailand.
Like the first day, Indian shooters brought another medal to India. In the team event of 10m Air Pistol shooting, the trio of Prakash Nanjappa, Samaresh Jung and Jitu Rai amassed 1743.64 points to finish third but they were strikingly close to the second spot as the Chinese silver medal winning team had totaled only 1743.65 points, a margin of a proverbial hair’s breadth. The gold medal in the event went to hosts South Korea with 1744.71 points. In the individual 10m Air Pistol Men’s Finals, Jitu Rai had to remain content with the fifth spot as he could only score 138.3 points in an event, where the gold was won by the South Korean Kim Cheongyong with 201.2.
India’s weightlifters performed miserably in both men’s and women’s divisions on Saturday. In women’s 48 kg category, K Sanjita Chanu and S Mirabai Chanu, who had bagged the gold and silver at Glasgow Commonwealth Games, finished very poorly. Mirabai finished 9th and Sanjita 10th in a field of 13 lifters. Mirabai lifted a total of 75 kg in snatch and 96 kg in clean-and-jerk for an overall effort of 171 kg. Sanjita’s total was 166 kg (73+93). In this event the gold medal was won by Kazakhstan’s Margarita Yelisseyeva and silver by Indonesia’s Sri Wahyuni Agustiani, with Togoeva Mahliyo of Uzbekistan taking the bronze. In 56-kg men’s category, India’s Sukhen Dey, another Commonwealth Games gold medallist, finished 12th among 14 lifters. In a major highlight of weightlifting events, North Korea’s Om Yun Chol set a new Asian Games record in 56 kg category, when he lifted a total of 298 kg to win gold. After Om Yun finished the 128 kg snatch, his 170 kg in clean-and-jerk marked a new world record. Vietnam’s Thach Kim Tua won silver and China’s Wu Jingbiao took the bronze.
India’s rowing teams of Dung Dung Sanjukta-Pratap Tarunikha in women’s pair and Roopendra Singh-Manjeet Singh in lightweight men’s double sculls did well to qualify. They now go into the final rounds. To reach the 2000m qualification mark, Sanjukta/Pratap took 8 minutes 24 seconds while Roopendra and Manjeet needed 6 minutes and 44 seconds. In lightweight men’s single sculls, Dushyant Dushian also qualified for repechage round by finishing second in 7 minutes 23 seconds. In lightweight women’s quadruple sculls, Dittymol Varghese, Khumantem Monalisha Chanu, Thangjam Chaoba Devi and Xess Manjula finished second to qualify for repechage round.
Indian squash queen Dipika Pallikal entered the women’s singles semifinal by beating compatriot Joshana Chinappa 7-11, 11-9, 11-8, 15-17, 11-9. It was unfortunate that the two talented Indians were bracketed in the same side of the draw. Dipika is now assured of at least a bronze. In the men’s singles quarterfinal, Saurav Ghosal also reached the semifinal and that will be at least another bronze for India. Ghosal defeated Pakistan’s Iqbal Nasir 11-6, 9-11, 11-2, 11-9 in men’s singles quarters.
In badminton, India’ women’s team entered the semifinal by beating Thailand 3-2. Saina Nehwal put India ahead with a crucial 21-15, 17-21, 21-18 victory over Ratchanok Intanon and PV Sindhu made it 2-0, when she beat Porntip Buranaprasertsuk 21-13, 21-15. In the next match, however India’s PC Thulasi lost to Busanan Ongbamrungphan 12-21, 14-21. Thailand brought the score to 2-2 after Porntip Buranaprasertsuk-Kunchala Voravichitchaikul beat Nelakurthi Sikki Reddy-Pradnya Gadre. However, in the last match the Indian duo of Ashwini Ponnappa and PV Sindhu won against Sapsiree Taerattanachai and Saralee Thoungthongkam 21-16, 21-17, assuring India of at least a bronze medal. The Indian team next plays to Korea on Sunday.
In other events involving the Indians, women’s Equestrian team finished sixth in the dressage Prix St-Georges event on the opening day of competitions. In Judo, T Kalpana Devi lost the bronze medal match to Lenariya Mingazova of Kazakhstan’s in women’s 52kg class, Indian men’s badminton team lost 0-3 to hosts South Korea and India’s women tennis team beats Oman 3-0 in opener.
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