Other than Saurav Ghosal’s silver in squash, where he came tantalizingly close to winning the gold, it was just a tale of a few more bronze medals for the Indian men and women on day 4 at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games. After the first day’s gold by Jitu Rai, India has failed to take another spot at the top in many competitions, where action got concluded on Tuesday. Star performers and gold medal winners of last month’s Glasgow Commonwealth Games, flopped miserably at Incheon. Some of them, either failed to qualify, or ended near the bottom in their respective events. The fourth day brought silver in squash, two bronzes in the newly introduced Wushu and two more bronze medals came Abhinav Bindra’s way in team and individual shooting in 10m air rifle events. Elsewhere, there was nothing encouraging for the Indian participants and countries like Mongolia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Kuwait have gone ahead of India in the medal’s tally.
India’s No.1 squash player, Saurav Ghosal was a disappointed man despite winning the silver. He began well and looked good for the gold against his Kuwaiti opponent Abdullah Al Muzayen. In the best-of-five-game match, Ghosal began by winning the first two games 12-10, 11-2. But the Indian allowed Al Muzayen to come back in the match by some sloppy play, when it mattered most. The third game was the crunch game that was fought neck to neck. Ghosal was just a touching distance from the gold, when the Kuwaiti forced Ghosal into errors. But the game stretched full distance before Al Muzayen took it at 14-12. Riding on his superb comeback in the third game, the spirited Al Muzayen took the fourth as well at 11-8. Now everything hinged on the deciding fifth game but Ghosal was already looking lethargic and edgy. The fifth game was full of thrills despite Ghosal blowing away an early lead. After a see-saw battle, the 26-year-old 2010 Gulf champion Al Muzayen overtook the Indian at 8-7 and never looked back from here. The game and the match ended as the Kuwaiti took the last game 11-9 and clinched the squash gold. Ghosal was close to creating history but he lost his best chance in the marathon final, which lasted 102 minutes.
Two of India’s bronze medals on day 4, came from Wushu, a sport that made its debut at the Asian Games at Incheon this year. Wushu is derived from Chinese martial arts and it is a form of Chinese method of boxing. Two Indians; Narender Grewal and Yumnam Sanathoi Devi had already entered the semifinal on day 3 and their next bouts were scheduled for day 4. Though the semifinal had already assured the two Indians of the bronze medals; Narender Grewal was unlucky to be judged as the loser despite knocking his Filipino opponent off the platform several times in the second round. Regardless he claimed the bronze as did Sanathoi Devi. Grewal fought against Jean Claude Saclag of the Phillipines in the 60kg class Sanda while Sanathoi took on China’s Luan Zhang in 52kg women’s Sanda. India have already filed an appeal with Asian Games appellate jury after Grewal was adjudged as the loser.
The other two bronze medals for India came in shooting. India’s ace shooter Abhinav Bindra bagged his second bronze by clinching the third spot in the 10m air rifle event’s individual category with a final score of 187.1. Earlier, Bindra had combined with team-mates; Sanjeev Rajput and Ravi Kumar to win the team bronze for India in the same 10m air rifle event.
On Day 4, highlights of India’s performance in other sports included; a) entry of Indian team in the final of lightweight men’s quadruple sculls; b) rower Swarn Singh entering the final of men’s single sculls after finishing 1st in Repechage; c) Indian men’s hockey team crushed Oman 7-0 in a pool B match as a warm-up to their highly-anticipated clash with Pakistan on September 25; d) K Ravi Kumar finished 10th in weightlifting’s 77kg category for men; e) in team squash, India beat Jordan 2-1; f) Indian men basketball team lost to Philippines 76-85; and g) in yet another poor performance, India’s Sajan Prakash finished 4th and Saurabh Sangvekar 7th in their respective heats of men’s 400m freestyle swimming events.