Asian Games: Two silvers, bronze for India; Sania, Dipika, Joshna advance (Evening Lead)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

GUANGZHOU - India picked up two silvers in rowing and a bronze in shooting on the sixth day of competitions at the Asian Games Thursday, while tennis star Sania Mirza and squash exponents Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal powered their way forward.

However, India’s challenge in the table tennis event ended as Sharath Kamal and Anthony Amalraj lost in the men’s singles pre-quarterfinals.

Arvind Bhat bowed out of the pre-quarterfinals of the badminton men’s singles.

With Thursday’s medals, the country’s tally rose to 16, inclusive of a gold, seven silver and eight bronze.

Rowers Anil Kumar, Saji Thomas, Ranjit Singh and Jenil Krishnan won a silver in the men’s four event with an overall timing of 6 mins 16.79 seconds — 10.39secs behind the gold medallist Chinese quartet of Sun Zhaowen, Wu Lin, Li Dongjian and Liu Kun.

In the lightweight men’s four, Lokesh Kumar, Manjeet Singh, Rajesh Kumar Yadav and Satish Joshi finished second with a timing of 6 mins 13.32secs.

Shooter Vijay Kumar, who won three golds at the Delhi Commonwealth Games, settled for a bronze in the men’s 25m centre fire pistol event, with South Korea’s Byung Taek Park notching up the gold and China’s Yadong Liu the silver.

Vijay shot a total of 583, while Park and Liu shot 586 and 585, respectively. India’s Omkar Singh finished eighth with a score of 580 while Harpreet Singh was 32nd with a score of 563.

Gagan Narang, who had won two silver medals here, finished fourth in the men’s rifle 3 position. Narang fired a total of 1261.8, with a 99.8 in the final round.

Sania Mirza powered into the women’s singles second round while it was curtains for Poojashree Venkatesha at the Asian Games here Thursday.

Sania, ranked 166, outclassed Wing Yau Venise Chan of Hong Kong 6-1, 6-0 in 50 minutes and next faces 91-ranked Shuai Zhang of China, who is seeded sixth.

Shuai had defeated Sania in the quarterfinals of the Guangzhou Open in September.

Poojashree went down to seventh-seeded Kai Chen Chang of Chinese Taipei 2-6, 2-6.

In the mixed doubles, India’s Sanam Singh and Rushmi Charkravathi overcame Uzbekistan’s Vaja Uzakov and Nigina Abduraimova 7-5, 6-3 and next play seventh-seeded Japan’s Yurika Sema and Hiroki Kondo.

Joshna and Dipika began their women’s singles campaigns in style, scoring comfortable victories to enter the quarterfinals of the squash competition.

Dipika, ranked 36 and a place above Joshna in the world rankings, defeated Jinyue Gu of China 11-4, 12-10, 11-1 in the opening round.

Joshna, too, won in straight sets over Jemyca Aribado of Phillipines 11-6, 11-7, 11-4. She now faces World no.16 Low Wee Wern of Malaysia in the last eight.

India’s challenge in the table tennis event ended Thursday as Sharath Kamal and Anthony Amalraj lost in the men’s singles pre-quarterfinals.

The result was similar in the women’s singles with Shamini Kumaresan going down fighting to Japanese Sayaka Hirano 7-11, 5-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-7, 7-11 in the last 16.

At the outset, the Indian hopes of getting past the initial stages were slim with the presence of world-class players from China, South Korea and Japan in the continental event.

World no.48 Sharath picked up a game against no.14 Oh Sang Eun of South Korea but lost 9-11, 4-11, 7-11, 12-10, 6-11. Korea proved India’s nemesis for the day as Sharath and Subhajit Saha were blanked 9-11, 6-11, 4-11 by Sang and Jungwoo Lee in the doubles pre-quarterfinals.

Amalraj, in his singles match, managed to push 11th-ranked Chih-Yuan Chang of Chinese Taipei in the second game but was defeated by the better player 6-11, 10-12, 5-11, 1-11.

In the women’s singles, Shamini showed how she has improved her game in the last six months, giving a tough fight to World no.9 Sayako but finally lost 7-11, 5-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-7, 7-11. The Chennai-based paddler had played a crucial role in India’s silver medal performance in the team event at the Delhi Commonwealth Games.

The slew of defeats Thursday meant India still have a huge ground to cover if they are to win their first ever table tennis medal in Asian Games history.

“The team has improved by leaps and bounds in the last one year. We did well in Delhi. Players like Sharath and Shamini have risen through the ranks. The competition here is equivalent to what you get in Olympics. So, there is still a long way to go before India starts winning medals in the Asian Games,” India’s Italian coach Massimo Constantini told IANS.

Filed under: Badminton, Olympic Games, Tennis, World

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