Hangzhou, Sep 24, 2023- India started their medal hunt in the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou with their rowers and women shooters bagging five medals on Sunday, though a gold eluded them on the first day on which medals were in the offing
The rowers claimed two silver and one bronze medal while the shooters claimed a silver in the women’s 10m Air Rifle Team Competition and a bronze in the 10m air rifle individual competition with Ramita Thapar finishing third.
The Indian men’s football team qualified for the Round of 16 with a 1-1 draw with Myanmar while the boxers made a winning start with two-time World Champion Nikhat Zareen scoring a dominant win against the same player she defeated in the World final in March this year.
Srihari Nataraj and the women’s 4x100m freestyle team reached their respective finals but could not get into the medals bracket — Srihari finishing 6th in the men’s 100m backstroke in 54.48 seconds while the quartet of Dhinidhi Desinghu, Maana Patel, Janhvi Choudhary and Shivanghi Sarma clocked 3:54.66 to finish seventh in the final.
The day, however, belonged to the rowers and women rifle shooters as their efforts helped India to make an appearance at the 7th place in the medals tally with five medals — three silver and two bronze.
The rowers bagged the first medal — a silver — when Olympians Arvind Singh and Arjun Lal Jat finished second in the Men’s Lightweight Double Sculls final at the Fuyang Water Sports Centre. The experienced pair, who had reached the semifinals at the Tokyo Olympic Games, ended the Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls Final in 6 minutes 20.18 seconds to take silver behind the Chinese duo — Junje Fan and Man Sun, who completed the course in 6:23.16. Uzbekistan’s Shakhzod Nurmatov and Sobirjon Safaroumov won the bronze medal in 6:32.47.
The Indian team of Jaswinder Singh, Bheem Singh, Punit Kumar, Ashish, Naresh Kalwaniya, Neeraj, Neetish Kumar, Charanjeet Singh and Dhananjay Pande won the silver medal in Men’s Coxed Eight while Babu Lal Yadav and Lekh Ram won bronze medal in the Men’s Pair events on Sunday, taking the Indian tally in rowing to three medals on the day.
In the Men’s Coxed Eight, India finished in a timing of 5:43.01, ending behind China at 5:40.17 and ahead of Indonesia who finished third at 5:45.51.
In the Men’s Pair, India’s Babu Lal Yadav and Lekh Ram finished third in 6:50.14. Hong Kong China bagged the gold medal in 6:44.20 with Uzbekistan taking silver in 6:48.41. The Indians ran the Uzbekistan pair close but in the end, could not manage to get any closer.
Meanwhile, the shooters also got into the act with youngster Ramita Thapar coming out in flying colours as she anchored the Women’s 10m Air Rifle team to a silver medal and then bagged a bronze medal in the individual competition.
Ramita with teammates Mehuli Ghosh and Ashi Chouksey finished second behind China, who had a total of 1896.6 while Mongolia took the bronze medal with a score of 1880.0. China stormed to the gold medal with a total of 1896.6.
In the Individual competition, Ramita was bunched in a group at a second place halfway through the final of the individual competition.
She then lost her way slightly with a score of 9.9 on the 16th turn, recovered with six shots of 10+ but had to be satisfied with the bronze medal behind two Chinese shooters.
India’s experienced Mehuli Ghosh, the other Indian to qualify for the individual final, finished fourth.
The Indian men’s football team made history as it reached the Round of 16 for the first time since 2010, finishing second in Group A despite being held 1-1 by Myanmar in a preliminary round match.
Talismanic striker Sunil Chhetri, one of the most prolific goalscorers currently active in the sport, gave India the lead in the 23rd minute as India led 1-0 at half-time. However, they failed to capitalise on the advantage and allowed Myanmar to score in the 74th minute through Kyaw Yan to draw the match.
But India finished second in the Group and grabbed a direct berth in the Round of 16.
There was no such luck for the men’s volleyball team as they were thoroughly beaten by mighty Japan in a quarterfinal stage match, losing 2-0 in straight sets and will now fight for the fifth-sixth place with a match against arch-rivals Pakistan. (Agency)