Day 8 of the Incheon Asian Games turned out to be the most successful and glittering day of the competition for India so far. Archery and squash brought two gold medals on a day of medal rush. Shooting chipped in with a bronze. There were more medals in wrestling, archery, athletics as well as shooting on the most fruitful day of the competition where India won a whopping 11 medals in total. Let’s have a look at India’s performances on Day 8.
India’s wait for the elusive second gold medal finally ended with a spectacular show from its archers who returned with a gold, a silver and two bronze medals. But what made the biggest news was the stunning display from the Indians to upstage South Korea 227-224 in the men’s compound archery team final.
Even though compound archery has never been a part of the Asian Games before, the Koreans, simply for their stellar records in archery were the favourites. So it was quite surprising to see the normally stoic archery masters blink under pressure at their home ground in Gyeyang Asiad Archery Field.
India’s compound archery team has been among medals this year. Rajat Chauhan has been a silver medallist at the Antalya leg of the World Cup in the men’s compound individual category while Abhishek Verma has been a silver medallist in the mixed compound team at the Wroclaw leg of the World Cup. The quiet confidence of the Indians was palpable right throughout the match.
Earlier, the women’s compound archery also delivered another medal by winning the bronze.
The Indian team comprising Trisha Deb, Purvasha Shende and Surekha Jyothi, shot 224, while Sakineh Ghasempour, Maryam Ranjbarsari and Shabnam Sarlak of Iran could only muster 217. In the individual competitions, Abhishek Verma picked up a silver while Trisha Deb bagged a bronze.
Abhishek Verma who had been in scintillating form at the Incheon Games carried on in the same vein in the individual event and reached the final. In the final, Abhishek had a blistering start of four consecutive 10s but a falter midway saw him settle for silver versus Esmaeil Ebadi of Iran. Esmaeil Ebadi beat Verma 145-141 after a calm display under pressure. Ebadi had shot 10 perfect 10s while Verma ended with just eight.
Trisha Deb’s bronze came in a more dramatic fashion. Trisha’s opponent Huang I Jou of Chinese Taipei had looked headed to clinch the bronze when a wild miss in the penultimate arrow swung the momentum back in the Indian’s favour. Trisha won the match 134-138.
Squash continues to thrive at the multisporting events. If the girls had set a benchmark at the Commonwealth Games by winning a historic gold, the boys were sure to match that incredible level at the Asiad and bring home India’s first Asiad squash gold.
The men’s team of Saurav Ghosal, Harinder Pal Sandhu, Mahesh Mangaokar and Kush Kumar scripted their names in history with a memorable performance against Malaysia. India had lost to the same team in the group stages but they avenged that loss when it mattered the most.
Sandhu gave India the lead by beating Iskandar Mohamad Azlan Bin 11-8 11-6 8-11 11-4. The onus was then on the World No. 16 and singles silver medallist Saurav Ghosal to guide the team to a gold medal. Having lost his chance to clinch the covered gold once, Saurav didn’t repeat the same mistake. It turned out to be an enthralling contest against the former World No. 7 Ong Beng Hee at the Yeorumul Squash Courts.
Saurav had beaten the two-time Asiad gold medallist in his singles semi-finals but Beng Hee didn’t give up without a fight. The Kolkata-born Saurav finally saw off Beng Hee 6-11 11-7 11-6 12-14 11-9 after a 88-minute gritty contest.
Earlier, the women’s team had to settle for silver in their quest for gold against the Malaysian team. Malaysia led by World No. 1 Nicol David and World No. 7 Wee Wern Low was always a tough proposition.
Anaka Alankamony put up some fight before going down to Odette Arnold Delia 9-11 10-12 2-11 and then India No. 1 Dipika Pallikal faced the numero uno ranked player David.
David beat Pallikal 11-7, 11-6, 11-3. India thus returns with their best ever haul of squash medals from the Asiad.
Shooting yielded a bronze medal as well in 50m Rifle 3 Positions Men’s Finals though it was surprising to see Chain Singh on the podium ahead of his more fancied compatriots, Gagan Narang and Sanjeev Rajput. Nevertheless it was a great effort from Chain who bagged a total of 441.7 points. The gold and silver went to Cao Yifei and Zhu Qinan of China who shot 455.5 and 455.2 points respectively.
In the team event, India missed the bronze by a whisker. The trio of Chain Singh, Sanjeev Rajput and Olympic bronze medallist Gagan Narang had a total score of 3480 and were pipped to the post by Japan by just one point.
The grapplers who are best bets for India medals didn’t disappoint on the opening day of the wrestling competition at the Dowon Gymnasium. 20-year-old Vinesh Phogat who had won a gold medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, secured a bronze medal in the women freestyle 48kg category. Vinesh needed two minutes and 31 seconds to defeat Narangerel Erdenesukh of Mongolia 4-0. In women’s freestyle 63 kg category, Commonwealth Games silver medallist Geetika Jakhar won a bronze medal by defeating Vietnam’s Thi Hien Ly 5-0 within a minute.
But luck ran out for 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Amit Kumar as he lost to Fumitaka Morishita of Japan in men’s freestyle 57kg category in the pre-quarter-finals . Also bowing out in the same round was Parveen Rana in the men’s freestyle 70kg category. He lost to Takafumi Kojima of Japan.
India added a medal from track and field on the opening day of the athletics competition. There was a lot of drama regarding athletics medals. Lalitha Babar had set a new national record on her way to winning the bronze in the women’s steeplechase final. India’s Sudha Singh who had won the gold in the Guangzhou Asian Games finished fourth. But later on the eventual gold medallist Ruth Jebet from Bahrain was disqualified for cutting the lane and Lalitha and Sudha were reported to be upgraded to silver and bronze respectively.
However it was later confirmed that Ruth Jebet has been reinstated the gold medal with an apology while India’s Lalitha Babar stays in the bronze medal position. Sudha Singh finishes in fourth place. There was also good news in both men’s and women’s 400m. Mandeep Kaur and Poovamma Raju made it to the final of the women’s 400m event while Rajiv Arokia booked his place in the men’s 400m final.
Assurance of medals
As many as five medals have been confirmed by Indian tennis players. Reigning US Open mixed doubles champion Sania Mirza confirmed two medals by entering the last four stage in both women’s doubles and mixed doubles competitions. In mixed doubles, Sania Mirza/Saketh Myneni beat Han/Kim of South Korea 6-3, 7-6 and in women’s doubles, Sania and Prarthana Thombare beat Thailand’s Peangtarn Plipuech/Nicha Lertpitkasinchal 6-1, 7-6.
Yuki Bhambri and Saketh Myneni too assured themselves of two medals from the Incheon Games. While Yuki beat Danai Udomchoke 6-3, 6-2 in the quarter-finals, he and Divij Sharan teamed up to beat Chinese Taipei’s Yeu Tzuoo Wang/Hsin Han Lee 7-5, 7-6 in the men’s doubles quarter-finals. In singles quarter-finals, Sanam Singh bowed out to the top seed Rendy Lu 6-7, 4-6 but he will get a medal in men’s doubles. Along with Myneni, Sanam beat the Chinese Taipei pair of Chen and Peng 6-2, 7-6 (12-10) to enter the semis.
Thus our tennis team may be bereft of the biggest stars, but our young brigade is playing their hearts out to bring India as many medals as possible.
The other news from Incheon
Indian paddlers too kept the tricolour flying high with a host of commendable performances. In the men’s section, India beat Kuwait 3-0 in a group B match with 3-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist Achanta Sharath Kamal, Amalraj Anthony and Soumyajit Ghosh chipping in with wins. The men’s team then got a walkover from Nepal. The women’s team too created a stir by upsetting the Glasgow Commonwealth Games silver medallist Malaysia 3-0 in their Group A match. Experienced Bengal paddler Poulomi Ghatak, Delhi girl Manika Batra and Olympian Neha Aggarwal contributed the wins. The women team then saw off Nepal 3-0 with victories from Manika Batra, Madhurika Suhas Patkar and Ankita Das.
India were outplayed by higher ranked Chinese team in their quarter-finals. The Indian women lost 11-25, 12-25, 10-25 in 54 minutes.
In their last group encounter versus China, which was a do or die match, India beat China 2-0 but there were areas that surely need improvement. India squandered many chances and it was finally drag-flick exponent V R Raghunath who scored in the 40th minute. Birendra Lakra added five minutes later.
In boxing, Olympic bronze medallist Mary Kom led women pugilists from India into the quarters. Mary Kom was impressive in her Round of 16 bout and easily beat Yeji Kim of Korea 3-0 in women’s 48-51 kg. Former world champion Laishram Sarita Devi also lived up to her reputation by outclassing North Korea’s Chungson Ri 3-0 in women’s Light (57-60) kg Round of 16. Pooja Rani who had won a silver medal in the 2012 Asian Championships, also entered the quarters by beating beat Undram of Mongolia 3-0 in women’s middle weight (69-75) kg. In men’s 52kg, Gaurav Bidhuri beat Nepal’s Prem Chaudhary 3-0 to reach quarters.
India added as many as 10 medals, 4 in archery, 1 shooting, 2 in squash, 2 in wrestling and 1 in athletics. India was also assured of five more medals in tennis.
News of the day
The men’s compound archery team claiming a historic gold by outplaying the mighty Korean team in Korea was surely the highlight of the day. The men’s squash team also made history.
Comeback of the day
Perhaps it needed a slice of luck, but compound archer Trisha Deb’s bronze medal was definitely the comeback of the day. She was very much out of medal contention till the final end when her opponent missed an arrow and thus handed over Trisha the bronze.