Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Asian Games: Tarundeep wins historic silver, India slip to 10th position

Tarundeep Rai
GUANGZHOU: Tarundeep Rai clinched a historic silver medal in archery while star boxer Vijender Singh and four of his colleagues stormed into the men's boxing finals as India slipped to the tenth position on the 12th day of competitions in the 16th Asian Games on Wednesday.

Tarundeep had his moment of glory as he became the first Indian archer to win a medal in the men's individual event on a day which saw as many as six bronze medals coming India's way. But the failure to win a gold resulted in India going down by two rungs to tenth position on the medals table.

The men's and women's squash teams, woman boxers Mary Kom, Kavita Goyat and pugilists Suranjoy Singh and Paramjeet Samota accounted for the bronze medals.

With the addition of seven more medals, India's medal haul went up to seven gold, 13 silver and 26 bronze. India had finished tenth on the medal rostrum in the last edition of the Games in Doha.

China maintained their supremacy atop the medals table with a stunning haul of 172-92-86 while South Korea (71-59-81) and Japan (36-66-74) were in the second and third position respectively.

After the heart-breaking defeat of the men's hockey team on Tuesday, the women's hockey team added to the gloom by finishing a disappointing fourth in the bronze medal play-off match, going down to Japan 0-1 via golden goal.

India, who claimed the bronze four years ago in Doha, were buried by Keiko Manabe's 78th minute golden goal after both the sides failed to break the deadlock in regulation time.

It was a mixed day for Indian boxers with four of them managing to storm into the finals and two of them losing their semi-final bouts. But Mary Kom's defeat in women's semifinal came as a huge disappointment for the Indian contingent.

Vijender outpunched Iran's Mohammad Sattapour to cruise into the finals and keep himself on course for a gold medal in the 75 kg category. Manpreet Singh also moved into the finals in 91 kg.

The 18-year-old Vikas outwitted Uzbekistan's Hurshid Tojibaev 7-0 to make the finals where he would be facing China's Qing Hu. Dinesh also had little trouble in dispatching Nepal's Deepak Maharjan 7-1 and set up a final clash against Uzbekistan's Elshod Rasulov.

However, Commonwealth Games gold medallists Suranjoy Singh (51kg) and Paramjeet Samota (+91kg) had to be content with bronze medals after losing in the semifinals in contrasting fashion.

While Suranjoy lost 5-6 to China's Chang Yong in a thriller-of-a-contest, Samota was all at sea against Zhilei Zhang before the referee stopped the contest midway through the third round and awarded the bout to the home favourite.

Indian woman boxer Kavita Goyat (75kg) lost to China's Jinzi Li in the semfinals and settled for a bronze medal. Kavita went down 1-5 to Li at the Foshan Gymnasium.

Tarundeep turned out to be the hero in archery with his silver medal feat. In a closely fought contest, the Indian archer lost to the Woojin Kim of South Korea 28-28, 27-28, 29-28, 27-28, 27-29.

Rai gave a vital lead to his opponent in the last set as he shot an eight pointer in his first attempt. And even though the Indian made amends in the next two attempts by scoring nine points each but those did not prove enough to halt the Korean.

The other Indian in the fray, Rahul Banerjee ended his campaign on a disappointing note as he could not even make it to the quarterfinals after he surrendered without posing much challenge to Taipei's Chun Chia Sung.

In squash, the women's team settled for a bronze medal in the Asian Games after slumping to a 0-2 defeat at the hands of favourites Malaysia in the semifinals on Wednesday.

The Indians were no match for the higher-ranked Malysians as Anaka Alankamony was drubbed 0-3 by Wee Wern Low in the first tie before world number one Nicol Ann David defeated Joshna by an identical margin.

The men's squash team also had to be content with the bronze after going down to arch rivals Pakistan 0-2 in the semifinal.

Commonwealth Games silver medallist Vikas Gowda bit the dust after a below-par performance saw him finish fourth in discus throw as Indian athletes drew blank on the fourth day of the track and field competitions.

Gowda was competing against three athletes who had better results this season and finished behind all of them with an effort of 63.13m, which is below his CWG silver-winning effort of 63.69m.

The Indians also disappointed in the men's long jump finals, with Maha Singh and Ankit Sharma finishing seventh and ninth out of 11 competitors.

Indian skeet shooters signed off their Asian Games campaign without a medal after finishing seventh in the men's team event and failing to qualify for the individual competition.

The Indian trio of Mairaj Ahmed Khan, Allan Daniel Peoples and Smit Singh totalled 336 in the team competition in which Qatar bagged the gold with a score of 353.

In the individual competition, Khan was the highest placed Indian at 13th with a score of 113. People were 20th in the overall standings after scoring 112, while Singh was 22nd with a score of 111.

In wrestling, grapplers Ram Vir (84kg) and Pradeep Kumar (66kg) cut a sorry figure as both lost their respective bronze medal play-offs in the freestyle competition to round off another disappointing day.

Holders India stormed into the semifinals of the men's kabaddi competition along with their women counterparts after registering easy wins in their preliminary round.

India, who have grabbed every men's gold in the South Asia-invented game since its debut in 1990, drubbed Korea 37-19 to enter the last four and top the three-team Group A with four points.

Their women counterparts ran into the Koreans and crushed them 47-21 (20-11) to advance to the semis.

Indian men got the better of Qatar for the second time in the volleyball competition by beating them in straight sets during the 5-8 placement round at the Guangyao Gymnasium.

India, who scored a 25-23, 25-16, 25-17 victory in one hour and two minutes, would now play-off for the 5-6 positions on Friday, while Qatar has been relegated to the 7th-8th placement round.

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