Historic squash show by India, shooters add another bronze
Incheon: Dipika Pallikal and Saurav Ghosal scripted history on the squash court, while shooters also continued to deliver medals as India bagged two more bronze to boost their tally to six on the third day of the 17th Asian Games here today.
Pallikal settled for a bronze medal — the first by an Indian woman squash player — after losing to world number one Nicol David in the semifinals. India were also assured of at least a silver in the men’s singles event after Ghosal stormed into the final — the first from the country to achieve such a feat.
The shooting range continued to be a happy hunting ground for the Indian contingent with the women’s pistol trio of Rahi Sarnobat, Anisa Sayyed and Heena Sidhu claiming a bronze in the 25m team event at the Ongnyeon International Range.
While the women’s pistol team, Pallikal and Ghosal stole the limelight with their performances, it was a rather disappointing day for India otherwise with the men’s football team and the tennis teams crashing out of the event.
With two medals coming their way, India were now placed 13th in the overall tally with one gold and five bronze. Regional powerhouse China lead the pack with 41 medals (17-12-12), followed by hosts South Korea 35 (13-11-11) and Japan 28 (7-9-12).
History was scripted at the squash court with Pallikal’s bronze even though she settled for the medal after a rather brute 4-11 4-11 5-11 thrashing at the hands of David.
Later, Ghosal entered the final, beating 2006 champion Ong Beng Hee. Top seed and World No.16 Ghosal lived up to his billing, outplaying 35th-ranked Beng Hee of Malaysia 11-9 11-4 11-5 in 45 minutes on the glass court of Yeorumul Squash Courts.
At the shooting range, the Indian trio of Rahi, Anisa and Heena tallied 1729 points, a whopping 18 adrift of silver medal winners China and two more behind gold medallists and hosts South Korea, to clinch the fourth medal from the pistol and rifle shooting range here.
It was also the third bronze for the country from this venue. The only metal of any other colour, notably gold, has come through the efforts of army man Jitu Rai in the 50m pistol event.
But elsewhere there was disappointment for the country when rifle shooter Ayonika Paul made the 10m finals but then got eliminated after the 12th shot to finish seventh with 101.9.
The Indian footballers gave a better account of themselves but that was not enough to a stop a superior Jordan side from winning 2-0 as Sunil Chhetri and Co crashed out of the competition at the group league stage.
Jordan struck on either side of the break through striker Laith Albashtawi in the 17th minute and midfielder Yazan Mohammed Yousef in the 66th.
However, the Indian women’s hockey team started its campaign on a winning note by drubbing a lowly Thailand 3-0 in a one-sided Pool A match. Poonam Rani (15th minute), Vandana Kataria (39th) and Deepika (53rd) scored the goals for India at the Soenhak Stadium here.
There was nothing to cheer about at the tennis court with both the men’s and women’s teams knocked out of medal contention after losing their respective quarterfinal clashes to Kazakhstan.
Both the teams lost by a similar 1-2 margin to the Kazakhs, seeded top in men’s and second in women’s competition.
For the men, Sanam Singh opened the proceedings and went down 6-7 (5) 6-7 (3) to Aleksandr Nedovyesov in a gruelling match which lasted two hours.
Yuki Bhambri was the next player in and he also endured a draining battle before losing 2-6 7-6 (6) 1-6 to Mikhail Kukushkin in two hours and three minutes.
However, the doubles pairing of Saketh Myneni and Divij Sharan prevented a whitewash by notching up an upset 7-5 7-5 triumph over Andrey Golubev and Aleksandr Nedovyesov.
In the women’s tie, Prarthana Thombare lost the opening match to Yuliya Putintseva 3-6 2-6 in one hour and 24 minutes.
Ankita Raina fared slightly better but could not upstage Yaroslava Shvedova, going down 5-7 6-7 (3) in two hours and six minutes.
India were saved from being blanked out after the duo of Yuliya Putintseva and Kamila Kerimbayeva retired midway through the doubles match.
However, the Indian men’s basketball team picked up the pieces quickly after their loss in the second qualifier to outplay Kazakhstan 80-61 and top Group B.
The Indians, who lost a hard fought match against Saudi Aradia 67-73 yesterday, won their second of the three qualifying matches and moved into the next round.