Jakarta, Aug 25 (IANS) Tajinderpal Singh Toor became the toast of the nation by winning the men’s shot put title with a new meet record while the squash stars and the bridge teams bagged bronze medals at the 18th Asian Games here on Saturday.
India now have a tally of seven gold, five silver and 17 bronze medals. They are at the eighth place in the standings with a total of 29 medals.
Toor hurled the iron ball a distance of 20.75 metres to smash the previous Games record.
The previous mark of 20.57m was set by Aboulmajeed Alhabashi of Saudi Arabia at the 2010 Asiad in Guangzhou, China.
China’s Liu Yang was a distant second with his season’s best throw of 19.52m. Ivan Ivanov of Kazakhstan took bronze with 19.40m.
This is the eighth gold medal for India in men’s shot put in the history of the Asian Games.
Toor dominated the final right from the start but reserved his best for the very last attempt.
The tall, burly 23-year-old from Punjab had taken the lead with an effort of 19.96 metre in his first attempt. He threw 19.15m in his second attempt but fouled his third throw.
The fourth attempt saw the Indian clock yet another 19.96m before he simply blew away the competition with his last attempt.
The other Indian athletes also proved their mettle. Muhammed Anas Yahiya entered the men’s 400 metre final in style, finishing at the top of the standings in both the qualification stage and the semi-finals.
Anas won Heat 1 with a time of 45.63 seconds which was also the fastest time in the heats. He went on to clock the overall fastest time in the semi-finals, winning Semi-final 2 with an even quicker time of 45.30.
Rajiv Arokia, the other Indian in the fray, also entered the final. The Tamil Nadu athlete was second in Heat 4 with 46.82 seconds which handed him the overall eighth position in the qualification stage. Arokia was second in Semi-final 1 to be sixth overall.
Meanwhile, teen sensation Hima Das and Nirmla entered the final of the women’s 400m competition.
Hima clocked a time of 51.00 seconds to finish second in Heat 1 behind Salwa Naser of Bahrain. The 18-year-old from Assam also took the overall second position in the qualification stage.
Salwa registered 50.86 seconds to create a new Games record which also handed her the overall top position in the qualification stage.
Nirmla won Heat 3 with a time of 54.09 seconds. Zenghuan Tong of China finished second with 54.29 to become the other automatic qualifier from that heat.
All three Indians in the squash singles settled for bronze medals after Saurav Ghosal, Dipika Palikal Karthik and Joshana Chinappa lost their respective semi-final clashes.
Dipika lost 0-3 (7-11, 9-11, 6-11) to defending champion and former World No.1 Nicol David of Malaysia while Joshana went down 1-3 (5-11, 10-12, 11-5, 10-12) to another Malaysian Sivasangari Subramaniam. David has won the Asian Games singles titles four times earlier.
Ghosal, meanwhile, wasted a two-set advantage to lose the men’s singles semi-final 2-3 (12-10, 13-11, 6-11, 6-11, 6-11) to Chun Ming Au from Hong Kong in a cliffhanger.
Despite the reversals, this is India’s best ever show in the Asian Games in squash singles. At the 2014 Asian Games, India had won two singles medals — Ghosal had a silver and Dipika a bronze.
India’s mixed team and mens bridge teams qualified for the semi-finals, assuring the country at least two bronze medals.
The mixed team, comprising Kiran Nadar, Satyanarayana Bachiraju, Hema Deora, Gopinath Manna, Himani Khandelwal and Rajeev Khandelwal, finished in the first place at the end of their round robin matches. They will meet Thailand in their semi-final match.
The men’s team of Jaggy Shivdasani, Rajeshwar Tewari, Sumit Mukherjee, Debabrata Majumder, Raju Tolani and Ajay Khare was fourth after the round robin stage.
They will meet Singapore in the semi-finals.
With bridge being included in the Asian Games for the very first time, these will be the very first medals for India in this sport.
Meanwhile, India women’s hockey team scored thrice in the final quarter to register an emphatic 4-1 victory over South Korea in their third Pool B match and enter the semi-finals.
Facing their first real test of the competition, World No.9 India took the lead in the match through Navneet Kaur (16th minute) but South Korea’s Yurin Lee (21th) equalised for the defending champions.
However, three quick-fire goals in as many minutes in the last quarter through Gurjit Kaur (54th, 55th) and Vandana Katariya (56th) saw India register a convincing victory.
In boxing, Pavitra registered a comprehensive win over Pakistan’s Rukhsana Perveen to proceed to the quarter-finals of women’s 60 kg weight category.
Pavitra, a National Games gold medallist, dominated the bout that saw the scoreline reading 10-8 in her favour after the referees were forced to stop the competition even before the opening round ended.
Making her Asiad debut in place of former world and Asian champion L. Sarita Devi in the lightweight category, Pavitra wasted little time knocking down the Pakistani pugilist twice before the bout was ruled in her favour.
In weightlifting, India’s Vikas Thakur finished a disappointing eighth in the men’s 94kg competition. Vikas registered a total lift of 335kg. The gold medal went to Iranian Sohrab Moradi, who lifted a total of 410.
Qatar’s Fares Elbakh took the second spot with an effort of 381 kg, while Thailand’s Sarat Sumpradit was third with a lift of 380kg.
Vikas made a best effort of 145 kg in snatch and 190 kg in clean and jerk for a combined effort 335kg.
He failed to lift the first two attempts of 145kg before making a successful lift in the third attempt.
In clean and jerk, Vikas made a successful lift of 190kg in the first attempt. He, however, failed to loft 197kg in the next two attempts to get out of the top five race.
Badminton stars Saina Nehwal and P.V. Sindhu advanced to the quarter-finals of the women’s singles competition while the women’s duo of Ashwini Ponnappa and N. Sikki Reddy perished in the quarters.
The 28-year-old Saina registered a straight sets victory over Indonesia’s Fitriani Fitriani 21-6, 21-14 while Sindhu overpowered Gregoria Mariska Tunjung 21-12, 21-15 in the pre-quarters.
Saina won the first game 21-6 before Fitriani dominated the early parts of the second game. However, the Indian fought back and sealed the affair 21-14.
Sindhu, on the other hand, took 34 minutes to beat her opponent. In both the games, Sindhu seemed perfect unlike the last match where she almost lost the issue.
The women’s doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N. Sikki Reddy bowed out in the quarter-finals, losing to Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan 11-21, 22-24 in straight sets.
In the men’s doubles category, Satwik Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty lost their pre-quarter final match to the South Korean pair of Kang Minhyuk and Choi Solgyu 17-21, 21-19,17-21. Another Indian pair Manu Attri and B. Sumeeth Reddy also lost their Round-of-16 match to China’s Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen 13-21, 21-17, 23-25.