A rare swimming bronze medal was the biggest highlight of the day on Day 7 of the 17th Asian Games. India also added another silver medal through shooting to take her current medal tally to 17. Amongst India’s racquet sports, squash players continued to sizzle reaching a pair of gold medal matches but it was time to say goodbye to our shuttlers as the curtains came down on our badminton campaign. Let’s have a look at India’s performances on Day 7.
Swimming – It may have been a bronze but for a sport which doesn’t enjoy much international success, the bronze is a rare and well-earned one. After a disappointing show by the swimmers, Sandeep Sejwal’s bronze in 50m breaststroke was surely a blessing. Sandeep clocked 28.26 seconds to finish behind Dmitriy Balandin of Kazakhstan and Xie Zhi of China who took the gold and silver respectively.
An elated Sandeep later revealed how much he yearned for an Asiad medal. ‘’I have worked 8 years for this and always wanted to win a medal in the Asian Games. It’s a dream come true,’’ said Sejwal.
This is India’s second consecutive swimming medal at the Asian Games. At the Guangzhou Asian Games, Virdhawal Khade had clinched the bronze in 50m butterfly after a 24-year medal drought in swimming.
Shooting – The Indian trio comprising London Olympic Games silver medalist Vijay Kumar, Pemba Tamang and Gurpreet Singh started the medal rush of the day by clinching the second place in 25m centre fire pistol competition with a total score of 1740. China won the gold with a score of 1742 while South Korea took the silver with 1739 points.
The medal gives a testament to Vijay Kumar’s self-belief and courage . Vijay had been struggling since the London Games with cervical spondylosis. The condition for which he is set to undergo surgery soon, has affected his performances and even denied him a place in his pet event – the 25m rapid fire pistol. So this medal definitely proves again that champions do rise above the most adverse situations.
Assurance of Medals
Squash – Squash continued its upward swing with both the men’s and women’s teams reaching the final and assuring India of at least two more silver medals. India had never been to the final of any squash event before the Incheon Games. And now they are in three finals at this Games, ensuring India’s best ever finish in the sport.
Asia No. 1 and World No.16 Saurav Ghosal got an opportunity to avenge his singles final loss to Abdullah Almezayen. In a gruelling 5-game match, Saurav didn’t make any mistake this time and shut the door on his Kuwaiti opponent 11-8, 7-11, 11-9, 5-11, 11-3 to lead India into the final.
Earlier, World No. 56 Mahesh Mangaokar gave India the lead against Kuwait when he beat Ammar Altamimi 11-4, 11-3, 12-10.
In the women’s team semi-finals, in-form Joshna Chinappa ruthlessly dominated her opponent Park Eunok of South Korea 11-6, 13-11, 11-8 before India No. 1 Dipika Pallikal edged past Song Sunmi 11-4, 11-5, 8-11, 11-5.
Both the men’s and the women’s teams will face Malaysia in the final.
The other news from Incheon
Badminton – India’s badminton campaign came to a close at the 17th Asian Games in Incheon after India’s biggest singles medal hope Saina Nehwal bowed out in the quarter-finals. Saina had a tough proposition in the form of World no. 3 Wang Yihan. She had never won a full match versus the former World no. 1 in 9 attempts and her only win over the Chinese came via retirement at the Denmark Open in 2012.
It did begin with much hope as Saina kept up the attack which forced the Chinese into errors. Saina won the first game 21-18 but thereafter didn’t have any energy left to counter the master tactician called Yihan anymore. Yihan won 18-21, 21-9, 21-7.
In the men’s competition, Glasgow Commonwealth Games gold medallist Parupalli Kashyap was knocked out 21-12, 21-11 in the Round of 16 by the World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei. Kidambi Srikanth put up a spirited fight against World No. 7 Korean Son Wan Ho but it was not enough as the Korean shut the door 21-19, 11-21, 18-21 to advance to the quarter-finals.
In men’s doubles, Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy lost in the quarter-finals while the mixed double pair of Attri/Sikki Reddy fought hard before going down in the round of 16.
Archery – It had been an up and down year for our recurve archers and their inconsistency got reflected at Incheon when all the recurve archers bowed out in the individual categories. Atanu Das and Laxmirani Majhi progressed the furthest reaching the men’s and women’s quarterfinals respectively.
However all is not lost as the Indian women’s team comprising Deepika KumarI, Laxmirani Majhi and Laishram Bombayla Devi which lost to South Korea in the semi-finals, is still in contention for the bronze medal. They will face Japan in the bronze medal match.
Women’s hockey – The Indian team advanced to the semi-finals after a comprehensive 6-1 beating of Malaysia. It was a completely dominating performance from India from start to finish. Rani Rampal scored in the 4th and the 20th minute; Jaspreet Kaur contributed in the 9th and 39th minute while Namita Toppo and Vandana Kataria chipped in at the 17th and 50th minute respectively. Skipper Nadia Abdul Rahman scored the lone goal for Malaysia.
Boxing –While two boxers made it to the quarter-finals, the comeback of Akhil Kumar received a jolt as he was knocked out of the men’s 60kg category in the Round of 16. Shiva Thapa had an emphatic win over Nadir of Pakistan to advance to the 56kg quarterfinals. Joining him was Kuldeep Singh who won his 81kg Round of 16 bout versus Anavat Thongkrathok of Thailand.
Sailing – Varsha Gautham and Aishwarya Nedunchezhiyan who had a lead in the Women’s Two Person Dinghy yesterday still remain in the medal hunt even though they slid down to the third place in the 8th race.
Tennis – Sania Mirza returned to the Asian Games with a thoroughly dominating show. Partnering Prarthana Thombare in women’s doubles, she cantered to a 6-0, 6-0 win over Bolor Enkhbayar and Dulguunjargal Gotov of Mongolia in the second round. Later on she and Saketh Myneni cruised into the mixed doubles second round as well, winning 3 & 4.
India’s medal hopes in the men’s singles event in tennis were kept alive as well by fourth seed Yuki Bhambri and Sanam Singh both of whom notched straight set wins to march into the last eight. While Yuki comprehensively beat 13th seed Christopher Benjamin Rungkat of Indonesia 6-3, 6-3, Sanam Singh upset sixth seeded South Korean Hyeon Chung 7-5, 6-1 to enter the quarters. It was a remarkable effort from the 397th ranked Sanam to come back from behind and turn the tables on the Korean who is ranked 190th.
It was double delight for both Sanam and Yuki as they later on won their respective men’s doubles matches. While Yuki and Divij Sharan won 6-2, 6-3, Sanam and Saketh won 6-0, 6-1.
However in women’s singles, India No. 1 Ankita Raina’s campaign came to an end after she lost 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 to seventh seed Eri Hozumi of Japan.
Golf – Despite the blustery conditions, Udayan Mane carded 6 under par 66 to move up to third place in Individual rankings after Round 2 and remains in the medal hunt.
Volleyball – Indian women beat Maldives 25-12 25-7 25-11 in a play-off to advance to the quarter-finals where they will meet China. But the men’s team went down 22-25, 22-25, 18-25 to Iran after putting up a determined fight in the final preliminary round match.
Medal rush – India added 2 medals – 1 silver in shooting and 1 bronze in swimming. There was also assurance of two more silver medals in squash.
News of the Day – Sandeep Sejwal’s bronze medal was surely the most savored medal of the day as success in swimming is rare to India.
Comeback of the Day – Vijay Kumar’s silver medal despite his cervical spondylosis proves his self-belief, courage and dedication of the Olympic Champion.