Except that day 6 was slightly better for India than the previous day, India’s sub-par show was starkly evident at the Incheon Asian Games. Of the Six shooting gold medals on offer on Thursday, India’s share was just a single bronze. Two more bronze medals on Thursday came from the efforts of India’s rowers. India lost in men’s hockey to the arch-rivals Pakistan and soured their chances to go higher up. Some hopes were raised by shuttlers and archers but in the final analysis, India’s poor performance continued unabated. Thankfully, India didn’t slip below the 15th position in medal’s tally but the chasm between table topper China and India became ever so wide. China already has 78 golds to India’s just one. India’s best efforts in Asian Games 2014 have only brought them a few bronze medals.
The much hyped Indian shooters almost drew a blank on the sixth day but for the saving grace by women’s double trap team of Shagun Chowdhary, Shreyasi Singh and Varsha Varman. They provided whatever little cheer India could elicit from the shooting field, where the big names and needlessly heralded heroes fell by the wayside. It was the seventh shooting medal that women shooters won for India at the Gyeonggido shooting range. Other than this bronze, India had nothing to show over the last two days in shooting. Highly rated Indian shooter Gagan Narang flopped in the individual and team events for the 50m rifle prone category. Of the others, Gurpreet Singh, Mahaveer Singh and Samaresh Jung also came up with disappointing performances.
It was a good day, however, for Indian rowers, who brought at least some cheer to an otherwise heartbreaking day for India and added two bronzes to the medal tally. The effort of the Army man Swaran Singh Virk was truly commendable as he rowed himself to utter exhaustion as the water-race came to the finish-line. Swaran Singh was so tired that he fell in water at the end of the race and had to be taken to the hospital for medical check-up. But not before he ensured that India added another of those bronzes to their medal tally. The 24-year old Swaran Singh clocked 7 minutes 10.65 seconds in covering 2000m, which was much better than his timing, two years ago at London Olympics, where he clocked 7:29.66. Swaran Singh’s late bravado in the event ensured that he didn’t lose his position though he tried to match South Korea’s Kim Dongyong, who secured the silver. The super-human effort caused his collapse and he was rescued by stewards and moved to a waiting ambulance. Another rowing bronze came India’s way, when the team comprising of Kapil Sharma, Ranjit Singh, Bajrang Lal Takhar, P U Robin, K Sawan Kumar, Mohammad Azad, Maninder Singh, Davinder Singh and Mohammed Ahmed secured the third spot behind gold and silver medal winners China and Japan.
It was a sad day for Indian men’s hockey team which lost to sworn foes Pakistan 1-2 in a group B league match. Several chances came India’s way but they couldn’t convert them, whereas Pakistan played a more determined game. After a goalless first half, Pakistan’s Mohammed Umar Bhutta secured the lead in 38th minute but India’s Nikkin Thimmaiah found the equalizer in the 53rd. The parity didn’t last long as Mohammed Waqas of Pakistan restored the lead in the next minute. The loss has affected India’s chances of further progress in men’s hockey competition.
In badminton, Saina Nehwal and Parupalli Kashyap advanced but PV Sindhu bowed out in the preliminary round. Saina Nehwal crushed Iran’s Soraya Aghaeihajiagha 21-7, 21-6 to enter the quarterfinals while Kashyap advanced to pre-quarters. But PV Sindhu suffered an unexpected 22-20, 16-21, 20-22 loss against Manuputty Bellaetrix of Indonesia.
India’s archers were assured of a silver medal, when the compound men’s team of Abhishek Verma, Rajat Chauhan and Sandeep Kumar entered the final after beating the Iranian team 231-227 in the semifinal. In the gold medal match, India will face South Korea, who defeated Philippines 228-227 in another tight semifinal. However, women’s compound team of Trisha Deb, Purvasha Shinde and Jyothi Surekha Vennam lost to favorites Chinese Taipei in the semifinal with a tight 224-226 finish. The women’s team can still win a bronze, when they take on Iran tomorrow.
Indian squash contingent were also assured two bronzes in men’s and women’s team events after reaching the semifinals. The women’s team of Dipika Pallikal and Joshana Chinappa beat China 3-0 while men’s team also defeated Japan 3-0. In their next encounters the women face South Korea, while the men would know about their opponent later. Regardless, both Indian teams are assured of bronze medals.
In other fixtures involving India, boxer Devendro Singh entered pre-quarterfinal in 49kg class but in the 64kg, Manoj Kumar lost in the opening round. In men’s tennis, Yuki Bhambri, Sanam Singh and Ankita Raina won their singles matches and moved to pre-quarterfinals. None of the Indian swimmers could make any dent in their respective events. For India’s cyclists too, day 6 proved disappointing as both Amarjit Singh and Amrit Singh finished fifth in repechage heats. In Sepaktakrow, South Korea beat Indian men’s team 3-0 in a preliminary group A match.