India wrote a golden chapter of her wrestling history as Yogeshwar Dutt brought home India’s fourth gold medal from the Incheon Asian Games. Khushbir Kaur too added her own name to the records by clinching India’s first ever walking medal by a woman at the Asian Games. With more medals from athletics and tennis, India broke into the top-10 of the medals tally for the first time at this Games. The haul of 8 medals placed India at the 9th position in the medals tally. Let’s have a look at India’s performances on Day 9.
Wrestling – Yogeshwar Dutt made the headlines by ending India’s 28-year wait for an Asiad wrestling gold. It wasn’t easy for even one of India’s biggest champion wrestlers and he had to do it the hard way. On Sunday at the Dowon Gymnasium in Incheon, we got to witness Yogeshwar Dutt’s sheer determination, spirit and tenacity once again. A battle is never over until the final whistle goes. Down and out, trailing 5-7 to Chinese Katai Yeerlanbieke in the second period of the Men’s 65kg Freestyle semi-final, Yogeshwar Dutt showed why he is one of India’s most revered wrestlers. Champions look for just an opening and Yogeshwar’s constant vigilance for his opponent’s weakness finally paid off towards the dying minutes of the second period. He could finally pin his spirited opponent to have a chance at the Asian Games gold medal which had so far been missing from his kitty. Yogeshwar’s commitment had always been exemplary. Just days after losing his father, Dutt had gone on to participate in the 2006 Doha Asian Games to bring back the bronze.
And so it was extremely heartening to see such a gritty wrestler fighting his heart out for the gold. He faced Zalimkhan Yusupov of Tajikistan in the final who was not ready to give up easily. It was a battle of attrition and the Tajik wrestler didn’t leave him much ground. Deftly avoiding Dutt’s leg tackles, he kept on frustrating the Indian. But Dutt displayed his wealth of experience in dealing with such a determined wrestler. Mixing between sharp attacks and passive fights, Dutt defended himself pretty well with a one-point lead. With the point in the bag, he smartly played on till the final whistle to claim the gold. Yogeshwar Dutt’s Asian Games gold medal thus completes his stellar resume which already has an Olympic bronze, Asian Wrestling Championship gold, Commonwealth Games gold. However, apart from Yogeshwar, India failed to add any more medal in wrestling on Day 9.
Satyawart Kadian lost his bronze medal bout to Mamed Ibragimov of Kazakhstan 0-3 in the men’s 97kg freestyle category. In women’s, 55kg freestyle category, Commonwealth Games gold medallist Babita Kumari had a tough outing as she faced 3 time Olympic Champion Saori Yoshida in the semi-final. She later on lost her bronze medal bout to Zhong Xuechun of China.
Women’s 20km walk – Earlier, Khushbir Kaur gave India its first medal on the 9th day of the Asian Games, a silver medal in women’s 20km walk. With a timing of 1:33:07, she shattered the national record – her own record set at 2014 Asian Walking Championships in Japan. The 21-year-old who hails from Rasulpur Kalan in Amritsar thus scripted her name in history by becoming the first Indian woman to achieve this rare feat. Lu Xiuzhi of China, who clocked 1:31:06 clinched the gold while the bronze went to Jeon Yeongeun of South Korea , who clocked 1:33:18. Khushbir was trailing Chinese Nie Jingjing for the most part of the race till the last 2 km where she managed to accelerate and the Chinese slowed down to finish fourth.
Athletics – India added three medals from track and field as MR Poovamma bagged the bronze in women’s 400m, Rajiv Arokia won the bronze in men’s 400m and Manju Bala who got a bronze in women’s hammer throw.
Poovamma clocked 52.36secs to finish third behind Adekoya of Bahrain who clocked 51.59secs and Vietnam’s Thi Lan Quach who had a timing of 52.06secs. With a personal best timing of 45.92 seconds, Arokia took the bronze behind Saudi Arabia’s Yousef Ahmed Masrahi, who won the gold in a Games record timing of 44.46 seconds and Abubakar Abbas of Bahrain who took the silver for a timing of 45.62 seconds.
Manju Bala achieved the distance of distance of 60.47 metres in her very first attempt which brought her the bronze. The gold went to China’s Wenxiu Zhang for a massive 77.33m throw while Zheng Wang, also from Chgina, clinched the silver with a throw of 74.16m.
Tennis – Yuki Bhambri raised hopes of a final appearance by winning his first 6-3 v rising youngster Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan in his men’s singles semi-final match. But unforced errors cost him the match 6-3 2-6 1-6 and he had to settle for the bronze.
It was later on double whammy for Yuki as he and Divij Sharan squandered four match points to lose their men’s doubles semi-final to Yongkyu Lim and Hyeon Chung 6-7 (8) 7-6 (6) 9-11. Thus Yuki’s campaign ended with two bronze.
In women’s doubles, fifth-seed pair of Sania Mirza and Prarthana Thombare went down fighting to the second-seeded duo of Chin Wei Chan and Su Wei Hsieh in their semi-final encounter. Sania-Prarthana lost 6-7 (1-7) 6-2 10-4 and had to lay their hands on the bronze medal.
Assurance of medals
Tennis – Sania Mirza can still fight for the gold as she and Saketh Myneni reached the mixed doubles final. Mirza and Myneni thumped the Chinese pair of Ze Zhang and Zheng Jie 6-1, 6-3 to move into the final. Saketh has a chance for double gold as he reached the men’s doubles final partnering Sanam Singh. The Indians stunned the top-seeded Thai Ratiwatana twins 4-6, 6-3, 10-6 to get a chance to claim the gold.
Boxing – The Mary-Kom lead women boxing contingent from India too assured themselves of a medal each. Mary Kom thrashed Si Haijuan of China 3-0 to enter the semi-finals of the women’s fly (48-51kg) category. Sarita Devi edged past Mongolia’s Suvd Erdene Oyungerel to make the last-four stage of women’s 60kg. And the third boxer, Pooja Rani outclassed Shen Dara Flora of Chinese Taipei in her quarter-final bout of the women’s 75kg. India can thus look forward to its women pugilists converting these medals into gold.
The other news from Incheon
Archery – After the high of the gold-winning performance from compound archery, India came a cropper in recurve archery as the women’s recurve team lost a heartbreaker in the bronze medal playoff. The trio of Deepika Kumari, L Bombayla Devi and Laxmirani Majhi lost to Japan in a shoot-off. Both the teams were tied at 217 at the end of regulation sets. But Japan pipped India to the post by just one point in the shootoff as they won 27-26.
Kabaddi – Reigning Asian Games champion India began their 2014 campaign o a bright note in both men’s and women’s competitions. While in the men’s section India thrashed Bangladesh 30-15, in the women’s section, India decimated the same opponent, Bangladesh 29-18. Both are group matches. India thus brightened its hopes of adding the yellow metal from this sport once again.
Canoe Sprint – There was good news in Canoe Sprint as India made a few finals. Gaurav Tomar entered the finals of the canoe sprint 1,000 metre after he topped the semi-final 1 at the Hanam Misari Canoe Center. The men’s team of Ajit Kumar Sha and Raju Rawat entered 1,000 metre double events final after claiming second position in semi-final 1.
Golf – Indian golfers finished poorly to end all medal hopes at Incheon. While in the team event, the men’s and the women’s teams finished sixth and tied eighth respectively; in the individual event, Udayan Mane finished tied seventh.
Women’s Basketball – A hapless Indian team were thoroughly outplayed by a formidable Japanese team who inflicted a crushing 37-70 loss in the basketball quarter-final match.
Equestrian -Yashaan Zubin Khambatta, riding a horse named Olgy, qualified for the Equestrian Jumping Individual Final Round while Sehaj Virk and Ashray Butta could not do enough as India crashed out in the Jumping Team Round 1.
Medal Rush – India added 8 medals – 1 gold in wrestling, 1 silver in 20km walk, 3 bronze in track and field and 3 more bronze in tennis.
Comeback of the day – The marquee wrestler Yogeshwar gave an example of his sheer determination and willpower when he came back from behind to pin his Chinese opponent and win the semi-final.