India finish with best ever medal haul at the Asian Games

India finish with best ever medal haul at the Asian Games

On the final day of the Asian Games, India finished with its best-ever medal haul at the regional showpiece. India finished eighth in the overall medal tally for the third consecutive time. India also equaled its highest gold medal tally with 15 golds. Apart from 15 golds, India bagged 24 silver and 30 bronze medals in the two-week sports extravaganza.

On day 14 of the Games in Indonesia, India won medals in boxing, squash, hockey, and bridge. Boxer Amit Panghal clinched gold in the men’s 49kg event. Women’s squash team won silver for the second consecutive edition. The men’s hockey team beat neighbors Pakistan to win the bronze medal. And Pranab Bardhan and Shibnath Sarkar bagged gold in the men’s pair bridge event.

Amit Panghal overcame reigning Olympic champion Hasanboy Dusmatov of Uzbekistan to bring home the gold medal. Amit, 22 is the lone Indian boxer to make it to the finals in Indonesia. Courtesy of a split decision in the final bout, Amit ensured another gold for India. In the five-round bout, Amit won the finals 3-2. He accumulated 30 points awarded by 5 judges, whereas as the Uzbek’s total was 27.

Vikas Krishan became the only other Indian boxer to win a medal at the ongoing Games. He won bronze after he was declared medically unfit to take part in the semi-finals. He had sustained an eye injury in the pre-quarterfinal clash that aggravated in the quarter-finals and forced him out of the semi-final.

The pair of Pranab Bardhan and Shibnath Sarkar also struck gold at the 18th edition of the Asian Games. Bardhan, 60 became the oldest gold medallist at the Games. Bardhan and Shibnath, 56, won the third medal for India in Bridge, which made its debut at this Asiad. Earlier in the Games, India had won two bronze medals in the men’s and mixed team event.

The women’s squash team of Joshna Chinappa, Dipika Pallikal, and Sunayna Kuruvilla lost the finals of the team event to Hong Kong 0-2 to bag the silver medal. Kuruvilla lost her singles match against Tze Lok Ho. Chinappa lost the must-win match against Annie 8-11, 6-11, 12-10, 3-11. This silver is the fifth medal for the squash contingent at the ongoing Games and their second consecutive silver in the team event at the Asian Games.

The men’s hockey team who lost out on the chance to strike gold made the most of their bronze medal clash against Pakistan. The defending champions beat Pakistan 2-1 to finish on the podium. Akashdeep Singh and Harmanpreet Singh found the net of the opponent’s goal at the 3rd and 50th minutes of the game respectively. Pakistan’s lone strike came in the 52nd minute but was not quite enough to seal the win. Sreejesh and co. would be a little disappointed even after a podium finish, because they lost out on direct qualification to Tokyo Olympics 2020, just like the women’s team. Both the men’s and women’s team would now have to take a long drawn route to qualify for the Olympics in 2020.

India has improved their medal tally from the previous editions of the Games. New athletes have come to the fore with their performances and several records have been broken in this edition. Though there are disappointments, India has finished with a strong performance, especially in Athletics and Shooting. With this successful outing in Indonesia, we can hope that these performances can translate into better results in Tokyo in 2020.

Asian Games Day 13: Women’s hockey team win silver; three medals in sailing for India

Asian Games Day 13: Women's hockey team win silver; three medals in sailing for India

On the penultimate day of the Asian Games, women’s hockey team bagged silver in a fought final against Japan. India also won a silver and couple of bronze medals in sailing and another in men’s team squash on Friday.

India stands eight in the overall medals tally with 65 medals – 13 gold, 23 silver, and 29 bronze medals. India has equaled their best ever Asian Games haul set in 2010.

Hockey

The Indian women’s team who went into the finals as favorites to win gold were upset by Japan with a 2-1 scoreline. The silver meant that India lost out on direct qualification to Tokyo 2020. India was trying to win their first Asiad gold since 1982, but Neha Goyal’s equalizer in the 25th minute was not enough. Japan scored off a penalty corner in the 43rd minute to take the lead and the gold away from India.

India’s defense that did not allow for a single goal to be scored against them in all of the group stages and semi-finals could not stop the Japanese from scoring. India will now take the long route for the Olympic qualifications which will be the next thing on Coach Sjoerd Marijne’s list.

Sailing

India clinched three medals courtesy of Varsha Gautham and Sweta Shervegar clinching silver in the 49er FX Women’s event and Harshita Tomar claiming bronze in the Open Laser 4.7 and Varun Thakkar Ashok and Chengappa Ganapathy Kelapanda winning bronze in the men’s 49er event.

Varsha Gautam, 21 and Sweta, 26 scored a total of 40 in 15 races to finish second in the 49er FX event. 16-year-old Harshita accumulated a total of 62 in 12 races to clinch bronze at the Indonesia National Sailing Centre.

Teenaged Harshita spoke after the win, she said: “It is a great feeling to win a medal for the country. I can’t explain it. It has been a great learning experience for me”.

Squash

Indian men’s squash team won bronze in the team event at the Games. The defending champions lost the semi-finals to Hong Kong 0-2 to settle for bronze. Saurav Ghosal, Indian numero uno was not fully fit and lost his match 0-3, whereas Harinder Pal Sandhu lost 1-3.

The women’s team comprising of Joshna Chinappa, Dipika Pallikal Karthik and Sunayna Kuruvilla advanced to the semi-finals after defeating Malaysia in the semi-finals.

India’s medal tally: 13 gold, 23 silver, 29 bronze, 65 total.

Asian Games Day 12 highlights: Athletes clinch 5 medals on final day; Hockey team suffers shock defeat in semi-finals

Asian Games Day 12 highlights: Athletes clinch 5 medals on final day; Hockey team suffers shock defeat in semi-finals

Indian athletes finished on a high on the final day of track and field events at the 18th Asian Games in Indonesia. Jinson Johnson added a gold medal after missing out in the 800 meters. The women’s and men’s relay team clinched gold and silver in 4 X 400 meters respectively. Discus thrower Seema Punia clinched the bronze medal. P U Chitra also won bronze in the women’s 1500 meters.

With incredible performances by the athletes, India surpassed its last edition’s medal tally. India has 59 medals, 2 more than the previous editions tally – 13 gold, 21 silver, and 25 bronze.

Jinson Johnson ran a tactical race in the finals of the men’s 1500 meters. He ran with the leaders for the most part of the race and kicked off late in the race to bag the gold. The Kerala athlete ran in third place for the majority of the race and dashed in the last 300 meters of the race to clock a time of 3:44.72 minutes.

Indian Manjit Singh who outran Jinson in the 800 meters to claim gold also used the same tactic but he finished fourth. Jinson’s medal is the first gold medal for India in the event since Sunita Rani’s old in 2002.

The Indian 4 X 400m women’s relay team continued their dominance in the event after they secured their fifth consecutive Asiad gold medal. The team of Hima Das, MR Poovamma, Saritaben Gayakwad and VK Vismaya clocked a timing of 3:28.72 in the final. The team finished the race by quite a distance. Bahrain clocked a timing of 3:30.61 to finish in the second place. Hima Das ran the first leg of the race giving India a sizeable lead which proved to be the winning factor for India. However, the team missed out on the Games record by just 0.4 seconds. The Games record is 3:28.68 minutes.

The men’s 4 X 400m relay team clinched silver in the finals and ended India’s campaign on a medal-winning note. The team of Muhammed Kunhu, Ayyasamy Dharun, Muhammed Anas and Arokia Rajiv clocked 3:01.85 to bring home the silver. In the first leg, Muhammed Kunhu was in the fourth place. Ayyasamy Dharun reduced the gap between India and third-placed Sri Lanka. Muhammed Anas brought back India in the medal contention in the third led of the race. In the fourth leg of the race, Arokia Rajiv staved off a challenge from Japanese Shota Iizuka to finish behind Qatar who took the gold medal.

Seema Punia bagged the bronze medal in the discus throw finals. The 35-year-old cleared a distance of 62.26m in her third attempt to record her season-best figures and finish in the third position. With her 2014 Incheon gold medal, Seema was the defending champion. But she couldn’t over Chinese throwers who had cleared the 64-meter mark before coming to Indonesia.

India finished third overall in athletics behind China (12, 12, 9) and Bahrain (12, 6, 7) after another fruitful day.

Hockey
The Indian men’s hockey team suffered a shock in the semi-finals resulting in their ouster from the gold medal contention. The team lost to lower ranked Malaysia in a shoot-out. With 3 minutes on the clock, India was leading 1-2, but Malaysia equalized off a penalty corner. In the shoot-out, the defending champions lost 6-7 dashing their hopes of a finals berth. In the group stages, India scored 76 goals in five matches creating a world record of most goals by a team in an international hockey match.

“We have scored 73 goals [sic] so far up until before this match. It was very disappointing today and I think the team still doesn’t know how to score under pressure. 73 goals are nice but they were scored against relatively smaller teams and today was what mattered and they couldn’t score,” said David John, high-performance director of the team.

Asian Games Day 11 highlights: Arpinder Singh and Swapna Barman bag gold medals, Dutee Chand wins another silver

Asian Games Day 11 highlights: Arpinder Singh and Swapna Barman bag gold medals, Dutee Chand wins another silver

Indian athletes shone once again at the 18th Asian Games on Wednesday. Arpinder Singh and Swapna Barman bagged gold for India. Dutee Chand clinched her second silver in Jakarta. Veteran Sharath Kamal and Manika Batra bagged India’s first ever medal in mixed doubles table tennis. The Indian women’s hockey team made it to the Asiad finals in 20 years.

Arpinder Singh won India’s first medal in men’s triple jump since 1970. Singh landed the best jump in his third attempt – 16.77 meters – to take the lead over the other athletes. Though his personal best is far better – 17.17 meters – his jump was enough to finish in the first place. In the 2014 Incheon Games, the 25-year-old had finished fifth with a best jump of 16.41. After training in London, he hit bottom when he was asked to change his technique completely. The changes didn’t work and he couldn’t qualify for the Rio Games. From one unknown land to another, the Punjabi lad came to Kerala to train under athletics coach J Jayakumar in Trivandrum. He relearned his technique and jumped his personal best 17.19 in the inter-state athletics championships to qualify for the Asian Games.

Swapna Barman conquered the toughest event in the Asian Games – the heptathlon. The 21-year-old finished the seven-discipline event with 6026 points, her career-best performance. Fighting severe toothache for days, Swapna pushed herself to set new personal best records in three events – shot put, long jump and javelin throw. Swapna became the first Indian woman to win Asiad gold in Heptathlon.

Dutee Chand added another silver medal to her tally after her second finish in the women’s 200 meters. She clocked a time of 23.20 seconds to grab the silver medal. Just a few days ago, she won the silver in the 100 meters finals. Dutee is the second athlete to win Asiad silver in both the 100 m and 200 m after Indian legend P T Usha.

“God has given me a lot of trouble since 2014. I suffered a lot. Nobody could have suffered so much. But I came back to give two medals to India. It will be a big celebration back home,” Chand said referring to her court battle over her right to compete with hyperandrogenism. In 2014, she was dropped from the team because of high testosterone levels.

Sharath Kamal and Manika Batra lost their semi-final match of the mixed doubles 1 – 4 to the Chinese pair Yingsha Sun/Chuqin Wangin. The Indian pair went down fighting. 0 – 2 down, the pair came back to win the third set. But the Chinese pair proved to be the better side and advanced to the finals. In their defeat, they claimed India’s first Asiad medal in the event.

Indian women’s hockey team created history by defeating three-time champions China to reach the finals. In a low-scoring encounter, the Indian team got the better of the neighbor. With eight minutes on the clock, drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur scored off a penalty corner. In the preceding quarter, Kaur had missed all the three penalty corners. In the last quarter, India got three consecutive penalty corners. Kaur missed the first two again. Her flick off the third corner left the Chinese goalkeeper helpless and the ball hit the top of the Chinese goal. China pushed their offensive in search of a goal in the last minutes of the game, but India’s defence did not deter.

“The team surely did not play to its potential in the first half. They stepped up in the second half and I am really happy for these girls. I know how much work they put in to be here. They trained really hard for this event. Japan will be a tough challenge but the team is up for it,” said India coach Sjoerd Marijne after the game.

India will now play Japan in the finals who defeated five-time champions South Korea 2 – 0 in the other semi-final.

India’s medal tally – 11 gold, 20 silver and 23 bronze, total 54

Asian Games Day 10 highlights: Sindhu clinches silver, Manjit Singh wins the 800 metres finals

Asian Games Day 10 highlights: Sindhu clinches silver, Manjit Singh wins the 800 metres finals

A flurry of medals was added to India’s tally on day 10 of the 18th Asian Games in Indonesia. India moved up to eighth place in the medal tally with 50 medals – 9 gold, 19 silver and 22 bronze. Here are all the medal-winning highlights:

Badminton
Even in her loss to World No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying, P V Sindhu crossed another milestone. The 23-year-old became the first Indian to clinch Asiad Silver in badminton. The Indian shuttler went down 21-13, 21-16 to Ying in the 39-minute encounter. With Saina Nehwal claiming bronze on Monday, this is the first time India has won two individual badminton medals at the Asian Games.

Athletics
In the 800 metre finals, India had a 1-2 finish. The favorite to win the finals, Indian Jinson Johnson finished second. Manjit Singh surprised everyone to clinch the gold medal. Manjit clocked 1:46.15 and Jinson finished just 0.35 seconds behind his compatriot with 1:46.35 seconds.

Singh ended India’s 38-year long drought of an Asiad gold in the 800 metres. The athlete from Jind, Haryana had qualified in 8th place. He did not win a single race even in the domestic circuit all year long. Sitting in the sixth place for the majority of the race, Singh overtook Johnson who was placed third and trying to cross the Bahrain and Qatari athletes. Only in the final stretches of the race, Singh overpowered the front runners coming shoulder to shoulder near the finish line. Just before crossing the finish line, Singh looked to his left, then to his right to assure he was victorius.  And what a finish it turned out to be. Jinson finished right after and India had a gold-silver podium finish.

In the first-ever mixed 400 metre relay at the Games, India clinched yet another silver medal. The Indian quartet of Muhammed Anas, MR Poovamma, Hima Das and Arokia Rajiv clocked 3 minute and 15.71 seconds and finished behind Bahrain who took home the gold. Anas gave India a healthy lead in the first 100 m, Poovamma seemed to struggle falling behind in the second 100 metre. Hima Das’s run was marred by some controversy. The AFI has lodged a complaint against Bahrain for obstruction during the Hima Das’ handover. Rajiv made the final sprint for India and ensured a second place finish for India.

Archery
The Indian men’s and women’s compound archery team clinched silver in the team event on Day 10 in Jakarta. The Indian men’s compound archery team of Rajat Chauhan, Aman Saini, and Abhishek Verma narrowly missed out on the gold after a dramatic shoot-off against Korea. The scores were tied in the shoot-off, but Korea got the gold because their arrows were closest to the centre of the target.

The women’s compound team of Jyothi Surekha Vennam, Muskan Kirar, and Madhumita Kumari also lost to Korea in the finals. They suffered a narrow loss in the finals. Korea finished at 231, whereas India closed out at 228. Both teams were neck to neck until 21 shots, but India fell behind in the last 3 shots of the game.

Kurash
Pincky Balhara and Malaprabha Yallappa Jadhav of India won the silver and bronze respectively in the women’s 52kg category Kurash event. Kurash is a form of wrestling indigenous to central Asia.

19-year-old Pincky lost her gold medal clash 10-0 to Gulnor Sulaymanova of Uzbekistan. Malaprabha Jadhav also lost her semi-final bout against Sulaymanova 0-10 to settle for bronze.

The sport is making its debut in the Asian Games. The players use towels to hold their opponents with the aim to throw them off their feet.

Athletes clinch a bevy of medals for India on Day 9

Neeraj Chopra

Day 9 at the 18th Asian Games in Indonesia was an eventful day for Indian track and field athletes. Neeraj Chopra bagged a historic gold in the javelin throw. Neena Varakil, Sudha Singh, and Dharun Ayyasamy clinched silver for India in track and field events. Saina Nehwal settled for bronze in badminton after she lost her semi-final match. Meanwhile, her counterpart P V Sindhu advanced to finals and will compete against world number 1 Tai Tzu Ying for the gold medal.

India’s flagbearer in the opening ceremony Neeraj Chopra won gold in the javelin throw. He threw the spear 88.06 meters in his third attempt to claim the gold medal. The 20-year-old created a new national record and broke his personal best. Considered India’s best athletics player, Neeraj delivered to the expectations and finished far ahead of his competitors.

“I don’t take pressure by setting targets. I had a gold in World Junior Championships, Asian Championship and at the CWG, but this is my biggest medal so far. The World Championship gold was at junior level, so this is big,” he said after the win. Chopra is the only Indian after Milkha Singh to win a Commonwealth and Asian games gold in the same year. In just two years of his senior career, Chopra has set new standards for Indian athletics.

India’s Neena Varakil clinched silver in the women’s long jump. Neena recorded the best attempt of 6.51 meters to finish second. Varakil recorded the best jump in her fourth attempt which was enough for her to clinch silver. Neena’s medal-winning performance is the first medal for India in the event since 2006.

India’s Sudha Singh grabbed the silver medal in the women’s 3000 meters steeplechase. Sudha clocked 9:40.03 minutes to finish behind Bahrain’s Winfred Yavi, who completed the race in 9:36.52 minutes. This is Sudha’s second Asian Games medal following her gold at the Guangzhou Asian Games in 2010.

India’s Dharun Ayyasamy claimed the silver medal in the men’s 400 meters hurdles. Dharun broke his own national record when he finished with a time of 48.96 seconds to win the silver. He broke the national record of 49.45 seconds that he set in the Federation Cup in Patiala earlier this year. The 21-year-old Tirupur athlete’s late surge in the 400-meter secured him the second position behind Qatar’s Abderrahman Samba who clinched the gold with a Games record of 47.66 seconds.

Badminton
Saina Nehwal won a historic bronze after losing to World No.1 Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei in women’s singles semifinals. In a match that lasted 37 minutes, the Indian lost in straight games — 17-21, 14-21 to the Chinese. Saina is India’s second singles player to win an Asiad bronze after Syed Modi, who won bronze in the 1982 Games.

PV Sindhu stormed into the finals after beating world no. 2 Akane Yagamuchi. She beat the Japanese in a three-game thriller 21-17, 15-21, 21-10. Sindhu became the first Indian to reach finals of an individual event in this year’s edition. Sindhu will take on world no. 1 Tai Tzu Ying of China for the gold medal on Tuesday.

India’s medal tally after Day 9: Gold 8, Silver 13, Bronze 20, Total 41

More medals follow for India on day 7 and 8 in Indonesia

More medals follow for India on day 7 and 8 in Indonesia

More medals were added to India’s medal tally on day 7 and 8 of the 18th Asian Games in Indonesia. Here are the medal-winning highlights from the two days:

Tajinderpal Singh Toor wins India’s first gold in the athletics on Friday at the Asian Games. The 23-year old threw the iron ball 20.75 meters to break the Games record and clinch gold. The Moga native said his only aim was to cross the 21-meter mark in the finals. “I had just one aim in mind. I wanted to clear 21-meter. I did not think of gold. But I am happy with this. I was trying hard to break the national record for the last 2-3 years and it happened today, that too with a meet record”, he said after the finals.

The burly Punjabi who trains in Dharamsala credited his victory to this family saying, “This medal is my biggest achievement because a lot of sacrifices have been made. For the last two years, my father (Karam Singh) has been battling cancer. My family though never let me get distracted. They allowed me to chase my dream. A lot of sacrifices have been made by my family and friends, and all of it has been repaid today”.

Squash players also added to India’s medal tally. Dipika Pallikal Karthik, Joshna Chinappa, and Saurav Ghosal had to settle for bronze in the individual events after they lost their respective semi-finals. Dipika lost to defending champion Nicol David of Malaysia by 7-11, 9-11, 6-11. Dipika had previously won bronze in the same event at the Incheon Games in 2014.

Joshna Chinappa also lost to a Malaysian. She was defeated by 19-year-old Sivasangari Subramaniam by 0-12, 6-11, 11-9, 7-11.

Saurav Ghosal, India’s number one men’s player lost his semi-final match against Chung Ming Au of Hong Kong China after suffering a leg injury. Ghosal seemed to be winning after winning the first two games, but the injury set him back and he lost the next three games and the match.

On Day 8, Equestrian Fouaad Mirza secured India’s first individual medal in the event since 1982 Asian Games. Finishing behind Japan’s Oiwa Yoshiaki, he bagged silver in the Eventing competition. Fouaad topped the dressage and cross-country qualifiers. In the finals, he scored 26.40 to seal the silver medal in the three-day event.

Fouaad was also part of the Indian team that also won silver in the Eventing team event. Fouaad, Jitender Singh, Akash Malik and Rakesh Kumar came in second place with a combined score of 121.30.

On the second day of athletics events, India bagged more medals courtesy of Hima Das, Muhammed Anas, and Dutee Chand.

Hima Das and Muhammed Anas won silver in the 400m women’s and men’s finals respectively. Hima broke the national record with a timing of 50.79 seconds. The 18-year-old from Assam took up sprinting in 2016 after the insistence of her PE teacher. A month ago, she became the first Indian track athlete to win a gold medal at the Under-20 World Athletics Championships.

Anas who topped the qualifications for the 400-meter finals finished second in the finals affected by a steady drizzle. He did admit that the drizzle tightened his muscles and turned his body tight.

“My aim was to get a medal, the colour of the medal doesn’t matter. I am happy I got silver. There were some issues at the start of the start of the season. I wanted to train with my personal coach PV Jayakumar, but they asked me to attend the Indian camp. Anyway, I am happy I could end the season in a better way,” Anas said after the race.

Dutee Chand missed out on gold in the 100-meter finals by just 0.2 seconds. What a run it was by the Indian sprinter from start to finish. In a photo-finish race, the controversy hit athlete was all smiles after her stupendous running effort.

Heartbreak for Lakshmanan Govindan who came in third in the 10,000-metre finals but was later disqualified. He was disqualified because his foot touched the inside of the track once in the 24-lap race. The AFI has appealed for a repeal of the disqualification as he Lakshmanan did not gain an advantage over any of the other athletes. The army man came in third but the fourth-placed runner was a lap or so behind Lakshmanan which might come into consideration when the referees evaluate the appeal. Until then, Lakshmanan has to play the wait and watch the game.

Other Matches

The Indian men’s hockey team beat Korea 5-3 in their Pool A encounter. This is the first time that the team has conceded any goals in the competition.

The women’s hockey team also continued their dominant performance in a close encounter with Korea. With the score tied at 1-1 in the last quarter, India scored three goals in three minutes to win the game. Gurjit Kaur struck twice in the fourth quarter.

Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu also assured India of medals by reaching the semi-finals of the single’s badminton events.

The Indian women’s and men’s compound archery teams are through to the finals.

India’s medal tally: Gold 7, Silver 10, Bronze 19, Total 36

Rowers shine on Day 6 at Asian Games

Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan

Six more medals were added to India’s tally on the conclusion of Day 6 on Friday at Asian Games. Men’s tennis doubles pair Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan clinched gold in the finals. Men’s quadruple sculls team also won gold on the final day of rowing events. Dushyant won bronze in the men’s lightweight singles sculls while Rohit Kumar and Bhagwan Singh secured the same medal in lightweight doubles sculls. Prajneesh Gunneswaran also bagged bronze after his lost semi-finals clash in the single’s tennis event. Heena Sidhu also won a bronze in the 10-meter air pistol finals with a score of 219.3.

The rowing contingent produced their best international performance to secure three medals on the concluding day of rowing events in Palembang. The men’s quadruple team of Om Prakash, Sukhmeet Singh, Sawarn Singh and Dattu Bhokanal came in first in the finals finishing before host Indonesia and Thailand. This historic gold is the first time that India has come first in the sport in any international competition. Bhokanal, Sawarn, and Om Prakash had had no medal-winning performances in the singles and doubles events the day before. Within 24 hours, the four men turned the tables to finish as the number one in the finals.

Dushyant Chauhan, another army man clinched bronze in the lightweight individual skulls finals. He emulated his performance from the last edition in Incheon in 2014. Chauhan pushed himself so hard that he couldn’t even stand at the medal ceremony. He dashed through the last 500 m to complete the race, draining himself in the process. He threw up at the medal ceremony and was stretched to the medical centre.

He admitted the he “pushed as if it was the last race of my life. That was the only thing in the mind. Maybe I pushed a bit too hard but it was worth it. I had a bad cold and throat in the run-up to the event, that also affected me a lot during the race. I was gone”.

“I just had two breads and an apple. It was very hot also. That is why I was completely dehydrated,” in order to maintain weight (72 kg) before the race.

Another bronze-winning performance from the rowers Bhagwan Singh and Rohit Kumar added to the rowing contingent’s last day performance. Rohit and Bhagwan clocked 7:04.61 to come in third behind Japan and Korea.

Bopanna and Sharan defeated the Kazakhstan duo Aleksandr Bublik and Denis Yevseyev in the finals. They won the match in straight sets (6-3,6-4) in the 52 minutes encounter. This the pair’s first Asian Games medal. The win is Bopanna’s first at the Asian Games while Divij has won bronze along Yuki Bhambri at the Incheon edition in 2014.

“There’s no way to describe this feeling because there’s never been a gold before, neither of us have won it,” says Bopanna. “Winning the gold medal for the country, you don’t get to do that very often. Divij and I pushed each other hard to get this”, the number 1 seeds in the competition were quoted by the Indian Express after their win.

Prajneesh Gunneswaran had to settle for bronze in the single’s event after he lost to Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin 2-6,2-6 in the semi-finals. Prajneesh became the sixth Indian to win a single’s tennis medal at the regional showpiece event. “I am seriously pinching myself right now. It’s surreal, I am at a loss for words. I have had a wonderful year and this was the icing on the cake”, told the TOI.

Heena Sidhu fought back from elimination in the 10m air pistol finals to win her first individual and third straight medal at the Asian Games. In the qualification for the event, she was placed 17th at one point. In the finals also, she was in seventh place. But fought back to third place.

“I lost the final because of my group shifting. If you look at my start, the grouping was very tight, all the shots in that one cluster but they are all high. So I had to keep adjusting my gun and it took a lot of shots, that is where I lost. Even though I was shooting well, the group shifting cost me. This is something that can happen anytime, anywhere according to how you are gripping your pistol, the change in the lights or change in muscle tone, or the height of the target. It’s just happened to be my lucky + unlucky day,” said the former world number 1 after her win.

Sidhu is the second Indian woman to win a medal in this event at the Asian Games after Shweta Chaudhary who won bronze in 2014.

Other matches
Indian men’s hockey team continued their dominant performance by defeating Japan 8-0 in their Pool A encounter and inch towards a semi-final berth.

Dipa Karmakar, the poster girl of Indian Gymnastics exited the games with no medals. Men’s singles badminton players H S Prannoy and Srikanth Kidambi also had early exits at the Games on Friday along with doubles players Satwik Sairaj and Chirag Shetty.

Shardul Vihaan, Ankita Raina bag medals on Day 5 at Asian Games

Shardul Vihaan, Ankita Raina bag medals on Day 5 at Asian Games

India bagged two medals on Day 5 of the Asian Games in Indonesia. Fifteen-year-old Shardul Vihan clinched silver in the men’s double trap shooting event becoming the youngest Indian shooter to win a medal at this year’s games. Ankita Raina emulated Sania Mirza, winning bronze in the single’s tennis category. She is the second Indian woman to win a Tennis medal at the Asian Games.

Shardul Vihaan was the youngest competitor when he stepped into the shooting range for the finals. The eventual winner, Hyunwoo Shin of Korea is 34 while the other five shooters were of ages 42, 38, 33 and 27. Shardul came one point behind the Korean, 73 to Shin’s 74. In the 80-shot finale, the Meerut lad held the lead for the first 36 shots. A PUB-G addict, the teenager played them with ease in the final rounds to hold on to his silver medal place.

Shardul’s pre-shot routine caught the eyes of many. Before every shot, he uses an empty shell to gauge the height to position his gun. Vikram Singh Chopra, the coach of India’s junior shotgun national team was quoted by Scroll.in, “In double trap, the first target is thrown at three meters and the second target is thrown at 3-and-half meters. The machine throws it at different angles, for example, machine No 7 throws it five degrees left, machine no 9 is five degrees right. So when you are changing your station, the angle changes. He was using an empty cartridge to take a tentative idea of his gun placement to reduce the moment down to break the target. It is a technical parameter taught to the kids in a double trap”.

Shardul took up the sport competitively at twelve-years-old in 2015. In this time, he has won the junior and senior events at the National Shooting Championship. With the double trap, not an Olympic sport anymore, the Asian medallist will now have to switch from double trap to a single trap shotgun.

Ankita Raina, the 25-year-old lost her semi-final match against world no.34 Zhang Shuai. In the 131-minute encounter, Ankita lost 4-6, 6-7 (6) to the Chinese.

After the match, Ankita said, “I came here to win gold. Hopefully, I can do that in the mixed doubles (with Bopanna). It was a tough match and I could have won. She is obviously an experienced player but I thought I could beat her.”

Ankita’s opponent was all praise for her after the match. “She played very well today. It was a tough match. If she keeps on playing this, she can get into the top-100 and maybe even top-50,” Zhang said.

Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan entered the men’s doubles final of the Asian Games. They will play their finals encounter on Friday against the pair of Bublik / Yevseyev. Prajnesh Gunneswaran when he outplayed Kwon Soonwoo of South Korea 6-7 (2), 6-4, 7-6 (8) in a marathon quarter-final lasting almost four hours.

The men’s kabaddi team suffered a shock defeat against Iran in the semi-finals. This is the first time since the sport’s inclusion in the Asian Games in 1990, that the Indian team has not entered the finals. Iran beat India 27-18 to enter the finals. The coach Ram Mehar Singh hit out at the captain Ajay Thakur for his “overconfidence”. “We lost the match due to the captain’s overconfidence, injury played a part and super tackle,” said the coach to PTI.

In squash men’s singles, Saurav Ghosal will take on Indian Harinder Pal Sandhu in the quarter-final assuring India another medal at the games. India’s numero uno players Dipika Pallikal and Joshna Chinappa also reached the quarter-finals of the women’s singles event.

INDIA’S MEDAL TALLY: Gold 5, Silver 4, Bronze12, Total 21

Shooter Rahi Sarnobat and Wushu players win medals on Day 4 at Asian Games

Shooter Rahi Sarnobat and Wushu players win medals on Day 4 at Asian Games

The second day on the trot, India secured 5 medals raking up the tally to 15 medals in the showpiece Asian event. Shooter Rahi Sarnobat became the country’s first woman to win a gold in shooting at the Asian Games. The Wushu contingent gave their best performance ever to clinch four medals on Day 4 of the games.

With 15 medals in India’s bag, the country is placed eighth in the overall medal tally with 4 gold, 3 silver, and 8 bronze medals.

The 27-year-old shooter held her nerve in the last two shoot-offs against Thailand’s N Yangpaiboon to clinch gold in the women’s 25m air pistol final. The Kolhapur shooter’s journey from a yearlong injury to winning the Asiad gold has been phenomenal. After an elbow injury in 2015, she took a year off the range. In 2016, she was barely able to pick up a gun because of severe pain in her elbow.

She credited her coach Munkhbayar Dorjsujen, two-time Olympic medallist who had an accomplished 25-year long career. “She has achieved a lot so her attitude towards competition and performance is really different and that matters a lot. More than the technical things, these things matter,” she said after the finals.

Munkhbayar is credited with creating a plan that focused not only on the technical aspects but Rahi’s mental abilities. She prepared Rahi for shoot-off situations which bore fruit in the finals on Wednesday.

Four Wushu players Naorem Roshibini Devi, Santosh Kumar, Surya Bhanu Partap Singh and Narender Grewal bagged medals for India even in their defeats. Participating in the semi-finals of the Chinese Kung Fu martial arts, the four players lost their respective bouts but received bronze medals. The Wushu players produced India’s best performance ever in the sport at the international stage.

Narender Grewal’s third-place finish secured him his second medal in the sport after his first win at Incheon Asian Games in 2014.

Other medal hopes

Women’s singles player Ankita Raina made it to the semi-finals of the singles event. She fought off Hong Kong’s Eudice Chong 6-4, 6-1 to enter the last four. She would look to emulate Sania Mirza, who is the only other Indian woman to win an Asian Games tennis medal.

Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan won their doubles match against Chinese Taipei’s Yang Hsieh and Yang Tsung-Hua. In the mixed doubles category, Raina and Bopanna are the lone Indian pair to enter the quarter-finals after they defeated Wong Chun Hun and Eudice Chong of Hong Kong 6-4, 6-4.

The Indian men’s hockey team produced another goal hitting extravaganza in their 26-0 victory over Hing Kong. In their victory, the team broke the previously set record of the highest scoreline. The previous best was 24-1 when India defeated the USA in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic games. 14 Indian players scored goals in the game where the coach of the Indian team removed the goalkeeper P R Sreejesh and replaced him with Rupinder Pal as the kicking back. Rupinder Pal scored 4 goals, followed by Harmanpreet with 4 goals, Akashdeep with 3 goals; Lalit, Manpreet, and Varun with two goals each and Sunil, Surendra, Vivek, Mandeep, Chinglensana, Amit, Simranjeet, Dilpreet with one goal each.

The team will take to the ground on Friday for their next Pool A encounter.

India’s medal tally: Gold 4, Silver 3, Bronze 8, Total 15