Asian Games: Golfers, sailors clinch silver as India bag four medals

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GUANGZHOU: Golfers and sailors contributed to the medal collection by fetching a silver each while cueist Aditya Mehta and squash player Saurav Ghosal bagged bronze as India dipped to the 14th position on the medal table on the eighth day of competitions in the 16th Asian Games on Saturday.

The men’s hockey team had a good day as they pipped arch rivals Pakistan 3-2 to cruise into the semifinals while the tennis players assured India of at least three more medals alongwith star pugilists Vijender Singh and Suranjoy Singh who stormed into the semifinals.

But the failure to win enough medals, particularly gold, resulted in India slipping to 14th position in the medal rostrum, their lowest spot in the competitions so far.

With the addition of four more medals, India’s medal tally climbed to two gold, 10 silver and 12 bronze. India had finished tenth on the medals table in the last Asian Games in Doha with a tally of 10-17-26.

There was no let-up in China’s stranglehold in the Games as they continued their gold harvest to maintain their position atop the table with a whopping tally of 137-64-66. South Korea (52-43-56) and Japan (29-52-55) were in the second and third position respectively.

The quartet of Rashid Khan (72), Abhijit Singh Chadha (76), Abhinav Lohan (72) and Rahul Bajaj (72) won a silver with a combine four-day score of 10-over 874 to give the first medal for the country from golf.

The Indian sailing team comprising Balraj, Balakrishna Helegaonkar, Atool Sinha, Farokh Tarapore and Sekhar Singh Yadav also had their moment of glory when they clinched the silver in the open match racing event.

The two bronze medals came through Aditya Mehta who lost his snooker singles semifinal encounter and Sourav Ghoshal, who lost in the semifinals of squash singles event.

The women’s hockey team also kept themselves on course for a bronze medal with a thumping 6-0 win over Kazakhstan in their penultimate round robin match.

The golfers provided the spark by winning the silver in the team event. However, in the individual competitions, in which Shiv Kapur won a gold in the 2002 edition, the Indians could not make much of a mark.

Rashid was highest-placed at tied fourth with a total of three-under 285. Abhinav was tied ninth with a four-day tally of three-over 291. Rahul was way down at tied 39th after totalling 22-over 310.

In men’s snooker singles, Aditya had to settle for a bronze after losing to Chun Marco Fu Ka of Hong Kong 1-4 in the semifinals. His bronze was India’s fourth medal from cue sports, including a gold won by Pankaj Advani in the billiards event.

The other two medals were in men’s snooker team event (silver) and men’s 8-ball pool (bronze by Alok Kumar).

Tennis assured three more medals with Sania Mirza scoring an upset 6-2, 6-3 win over second seed Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand to enter the semifinals while the duo of Somdev Devvarman and Sanam Singh also made it to the last four stage in men’s doubles.

Sania then combined with Vishnu Vardhan to assure a bronze in the mixed doubles event as their fourth seeded Taipei rivals — Chia Jung Chuang and Yi Chu-Huan — retired mid-way.

Unseeded Sania, a silver medallist at 2006 Asian Games in Doha and also at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, relied on her power-packed strokes to beat the Thai, who once figured in top-20 and now stands at number 58 in the world.

The world number 166 Indian will next face third seed and world number 69 Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan.

Somdev, who has already won a bronze in men’s team event, and Sanam beat the Chinese pair of Yan Bai and Zhang Ze 6-2, 6-4 in men’s doubles quarterfinals.

The Indian men’s hockey team notched up their fourth straight win over traditional rivals Pakistan this year with a 3-2 victory in a group B match to book a semifinal berth.

Penalty corner specialist Sandeep Singh struck twice in the third and 48th minutes while Dharamvir Singh netted a field goal in between to ensure India’s third successive victory in Group B.

Rehan Butt (fourth) and Shakeel Abbasi (43rd minute) scored for Pakistan. Both the goals conceded by Rajpal Singh-led India were off defensive errors.

With twelve points in their kitty, India are sitting on top of the table with one match to go against Japan on Sunday.

Indian boxers also continued to sizzle with Vijender Singh (75kg) demolishing Korea’s Deokjin Cho to enter the semifinals and assure himself of at least a bronze medal.

The 25-year-old Olympic and World Championship bronze-medallist got the better of Cho 13-2 in a one-sided contest at the Foshan Gymnasium to take the total number of Indian boxers in semifinals to three — the other two being Dinesh Kumar (81kg) and Paramjeet Samota (+91kg).

The dashing Haryana-pugilist, who won a bronze in the previous Asian Games in Doha, will now face Mohammad Sattapour of Iran in the semifinals.

Another pugilist Amandeep Singh blanked Pakistan’s Muhammad Waseem to make the light flyweight 49kg quarterfinals while Suranjoy pulled off a hard-fought 4-2 triumph over Uzbekistan’s Shahriyor Isakov.

In squash, Saurav Ghosal settled for a bronze medal after losing his semifinal clash to top-seed Mohammad Azlan Iskandar of Malaysia in the men’s singles..

World ranked 25 Ghosal waged a grim battle against an opponent ranked ten places higher than him in the world chart to eventually lose 5-11, 11-6, 5-11, 10-12 at the Town Gymnasium.

India’s male archers struggled to find their bearings on and were placed fourth in the qualification stage.

The Indian quartet of Rahul Banerjee, Tarundeep Rai, Mangal Singh Champia and Jayanta Talukdar totalled 3996, way behind champions Korea’s new Games record score of 4114, which gave them the lead on the first day of the two-day men’s event.

In handball, the Indian men notched up their first win with a 56-22 victory over Mongolia but that was not enough for them to advance to the knock-out round.

India’s women hoopsters suffered their second consecutive defeat, losing 44-98 to South Korea in their Group A preliminary match while women spikers continued to flounder and were outplayed 0-3 by Japan.

Indian cyclists, however, failed to lift themselves from their dismal show so far with Sombir finishing 15th in the men’s Individual Time Trial while Sunita Devi signing off 10th in the women’s section of the same event.

Sombir clocked 1:16:45.24sec in the 53.4km race, covered in three laps of 17.8km each.

Sunita, on the other hand, returned a timing of 56:00.87sec in the women’s race which covers a distance of 35.6km in two laps of 17.8km each.

India’s campaign in the taekwondo competitions ended on a dismal note as Sunil Kumar and Kamineni Srilakshmi crashed out of their respective events.

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This post was submitted by Remya.

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