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  • Sandhyarani bags silver medal, India slip to 11th position

    Published on November 18, 2010

    Unheralded Sandhyarani Devi proved to be the saving grace by bagging a silver medal in wushu while the fancied shooters flopped yet again as India slipped to the 11th position on the medals table on the fifth day of competitions at the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou on Wednesday.

    The 27-year-old Sandhyarani’s achievement was the lone bright spot in an otherwise heart-breaking day which saw below-par performances in most disciplines though pugilist Vijender and shuttler Saina Nehwal booked quarter final berths and the men’s hockey team kept themselves in medal reckoning with a 9-0 trouncing of Bangladesh.

    With the addition of just a silver medal, India’s medal tally rose to one gold, five silver and seven bronze but the collection could have been far better had the shooters lived upto their reputation.

    The Indians, who were in the ninth position on Wednesday, slid to the 11th place in the medal rostrum.

    Hosts China maintained their supremacy to lead the table with a whopping tally of 96-39-35 while South Korea (29-22-31) and Japan (17-40-35) maintained their positions in the second and third spots respectively.

    Pugilist Vikas Krishan (60kg) also had a good day as he romped into the pre-quarter finals, but Virdhawal khade, who scripted history by breaking the swimming medal drought after 24 years, failed to qualify to the finals in his event alongwith compatriots Aaron Agnel Dsouza and Rehan Poncha.

    The women hockey team’s chances of a medal was severely dented after going down to South Korea by a solitary goal. The Indian eves now need to win two of their last three matches to keep themselves in the race for a bronze medal.

    India had a mixed day in tennis as Karan Rastogi and Vishnu Vardhan started their campaign with a comfortable victory in men’s double while Rushmi Chakravarti and Poojashree Venkatesha crashed out of the women’s doubles in the first round.

    The day clearly belonged to Sandhyarani for her feat of winning a silver medal in wushu, a traditional chinese sport which integrates several martial art forms.

    The Manipuri lost 0-2 to Iran’s Khadijeh Azadpour in the 60 kg final to fetch the second medal from the event.

    But India’s medal quest has been badly hit by the poor show of the shooters who again drew a blank at the Aoti shooting range.

    The shooters put up a dismal show on another windy day with only pistol expert and Melbourne Commonwealth Games hero Samaresh Jung coming up with something notable in the morning session of the competitions.

    Bespectacled Jung, who earned the nickname ‘Goldfinger’ after grabbing a record five gold medals four years ago in Melbourne, missed the men’s 25m standard pistol shoot-off for the bronze by one point in a straight final to finish 7th overall with 569 points from amongst 39 shooters.

    But Jung’s two other teammates, Pemba Tamang and Chandrahas Chaudhary, performed very poorly, shooting only 550 and 549 out of 600 to end up 22nd and 23rd respectively and the combined effort cost India a team medal too as they finished fourth with 1668 points, well behind bronze winners North Korea’s 1690, from eleven contestants.

    World women’s prone position champion Tejaswini Sawant too put up a disappointing display and brought up the rear, finishing 23rd out of 45 shooters with a shocking 569 points in the women’s 3-position rifle event.

    Her teammate Lajjakumari Gauswami ended up a rung below her with the same score and Charanpreet Kaur Nilon secured the 31st spot with 559.

    In boxing, Vijender prevailed over Yu Ting Yang of Chinese Taipei 9-4 to move into the quarter finals of the 75 kg category. Vikas (60kg) beat Thailand’s Saylom Ardee in his opening round bout to join Suranjoy Singh (52kg) as the second Indian in the pre-quarters stage.

    The Haryana-lad, a reigning world youth champion and a bronze medallist of the inaugural Youth Olympics this year, won 8-1 against Saylom Ardee in his first bout at a senior international event.

    The Indian hockey team too delivered by routing Bangladesh 9-0. Penalty corner specialist Sandeep Singh pumped in four goals in that tally to guide India to their second straight victory in Group B men’s league.

    Two-time champions India, who opened their campaign to regain the gold they last won in 1998 and qualify for the 2012 Olympics with a facile 7-0 victory over Hong Kong, led 3-0 at half time before upping the pace in the second half and pumping in six more goals to complete the rout.

    However, there was disappointment elsewhere with swimmers failing to create a splash.

    After ending India’s 24-year-old medal drought in the pool in Asian Games, teen swimming sensation Virdhawal Khade topped his 100m freestyle heats but the effort was not good enough to fetch a place in the finals of the event.

    Khade, who clinched a 50m butterfly bronze on Tuesday to become the first Indian swimmer in 24 years to clinch an Asian Games medal, clocked 51.25sec to top the 100m freestyle heats on Wednesday but the eventual eight qualifiers returned timings of under 51 seconds.

    Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal cruised into the quarter finals of the women’s singles after steamrolling Lydia Cheah of Malaysia in the the second round.

    Another top Indian shuttler Parupalli Kashyap crashed out with a first-round loss while Arvind Bhat received a walkover to enter the pre-quarterfinals in the badminton competition.

    India’s woeful show continued in sepaktakraw with both the men’s and women’s team losing their second consecutive group matches to bow out of medal contention.

    After making a disappointing start to their campaign, when the men’s team lost to Japan and the women’s team was thrashed by South Korea, India once again failed to make a mark today, losing to hosts China.

    Even as the men’s team went down fighting 1-2 against the hosts in Group B, Indian women could not win a single match in their pool and got beaten 0-3 at the hands of the mighty Chinese eves.

    Rashid Khan opened with a tumultuous one-under 71 to be the highest-placed Indian at tied fifth on day one of the Asian Games’ men’s individual golf competition.

    The 19-year-old sent down an eagle and four birdies against three bogeys and a double bogey on the opening day of the competition. He is the only Indian to break par on Day One.

    India saw another unsuccessful day in cue sports as Indira Gowda went down fighting 4-5 against Thuy Vi Duon of Vietnam in the pre-quarterfinals of the women’s 8-ball pool singles event.

    In Taekwando competitions, which started today, India’s Jasvant lost a closely contested fight against Yulius Fernado of Indonesia 5-6 to crash out of the men’s 74kg event.

    The cyclists too managed a below par show and signed off without a medal in the track events. In men’s Points Race (120 laps, 30 km), Atul Kumar and Rajendra Bishnoi finished 15th and 20th respectively.

    In the men’s Keirin finals, Prince Herbert Sara Hylem barely managed a ninth-place finish while Bikram Okram Singh was 13th.

    Indian women suffered a 2-20 thrashing at the hands of Uzbekistan in their last round-robin league match to finish fourth in the water polo competition while the pair of Kasi Viswanadha Raju and Kiran Reddy suffered their second consecutive defeat in the volleyball competition when they lost 1-2 to Malaysia.