Wrestlers, shooters, archers take India’s gold count to 18 (Evening Lead)

Friday, October 8, 2010

NEW DELHI - Women wrestlers and archers excelled Friday winning three golds between them as shooters continued to add to their kitty, taking India’s Commonwealth Games gold tally to 19 on the fifth day of competitions here.

Anita won the gold in the freestyle 67kg category defeating Canadian M. Buydens 4-1 and Alka Tomar won in the 59kg event. She also defeated Canadian wrestler Tonya Verbeek 3-2.

The women archers gave the country its maiden Commonwealth Games gold in the sport, which was re-included in the Games after 28 years. However the fancied men’s side disappointed getting only a bronze in recurve team event.

The shooters won two golds.

With a silver each from shooting and women’s wrestling and a bronze from men’s archery, India’s medal tally is now at 42, second to Australia’s 78 that includes 39 golds.

There was disappointment in tennis as top seed Leander Pares and Mahesh Bhupathi crashed out of the men’s doubles event.

However Somedev Devvarman and Sania Mirza entered the finals of teh singles event.

The first gold Friday came from the women’s recurve team in archery. Dola Banerjee, Bombayala Devi and Deepika Kumari, beat England in the final at the Yamuna Sports Complex for the top honour, their first in the Commonwealth Games.

Later, India’s men archers won the bronze in the recurve team event. The team, comprising Jayanta Talukdar, Rahul Banerjee and Tarundeep Rai defeated England in the bronze play-off at the Yamuna Sports Complex.

Continuing their blazing form, Indian shooters struck two more golds with Gagan Narang and Imran Hasan Khan winning the men’s 50-metre rifle three-position event and army man Vijay Kumar claiming top honours in the men’s 25-metre rapid fire pistol event.

Another army man, Gurpreet Singh, won the bronze in the 25-metre rapid fire pistol at the Karni Singh Shooting Range. Vijay and Gurpreet had won the gold medal in the pairs event Thursday.

Indian shooters, who set up Games records in both the events, have so far collected nine gold medals in the competition.

Gagan, a world No.3, shot a total of 1167 (prone 397, standing 385, kneeling 385) while Imran had a total of 1158 (prone 395, standing 381, kneeling 382) enabling India to win the gold with a cumulative score of 2325.

The earlier Games record of 2300 was held by Canadian pair Michael Dion and Wayne Sorensen at the Victoria Games in 1994.

Indian shooters Manavjit Singh Sandhu and Mansher Singh won the silver in the men’s trap pairs event.

Wrestler Babita Kumari won the silver in the women’s freestyle 51kg category. She lost to Nigerian Ifeoma Christiana Nwoye 4-7. Her elder sister had won a gold Thursday.

The women’s table tennis team will take on world champions Singapore later Friday in the final. This is the maiden Commonwealth Games final for the women’s team, bronze medalists in the 2006 Melbourne edition.

A medal in badminton is assured as the the home team will take on Malaysia in the mixed team event final Friday evening.

Devvarman made sure of a medal in tennis singles defeating Matt Ebden of Australia in semifinal.

Sania moved into the singles final defeating Olivia Rogowska of Australia 1-6, 6-4, 6-4.

India fell short of their target of 14 goals against Trinidad and Tobago and this could impact their medal chances in the women’s hockey event, team coach Sandeep Somesh said.

“At the start of the game today, we had a certain target and that was 14 goals, but we only managed seven and this could hurt us,” he said after India’s 7-0 win against the minnows from the Caribbeans.

New Zealand became the first team to qualify for the semifinals of the women’s hockey event, beating England 4-1 and South Africa fought back to draw 1-1 with Australia in a league match.

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