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Shooters clinch silver, Sejwal bags swimming bronze in Asiad

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INCHEON: The men’s pistol team clinched a silver medal, while Sandeep Sejwal scooped a rare bronze in swimming but India slipped to the 16th position in the overall standings with a tally of 17 medals on the seventh day of competitions in the 17th Asian Games here Friday.
The pistol team, spearheaded by London Olympic Games silver medallist Vijay Kumar and including Pemba Tamang and Gurpreet Singh, clinched the second place with a total score of 1740, two behind gold medallists China, in the 25m centre fire pistol competition.
The 25-year-old Sejwal provided some much-needed boost to the Indian swimming contingent by grabbing a bronze in the 50m breaststroke event after topping his heats.
There was some more good news from the squash arena after both the men’s and women’s teams were assured of at least silver medals after making the finals of their respective competitions.
On the whole, it again turned out to be a day of mixed fortunes for the Indian contingent which saw its star shuttlers Saina Nehwal and Parupalli Kashyap being knocked out of the singles competition along with the archers, who bowed out of the individual recurve event.
The women’s hockey team kept themselves in medal contention with a 6-1 win over Malaysia.
With the addition of two more medals, India dropped a rung to 16th in the tally with a haul of one gold, two silver and 14 bronze medal so far. China continued to be at the top with 179 medals (91-49-39), followed by South Korea (31-37-36) and Japan (30-42-35).
The day started rather well with the shooters delivering a silver. In fact, had the men’s trio equalled the Chinese, they would have secured a gold as their number of inner tens was much higher than their formidable rivals.
Vijay took part here despite being troubled by cervical spondylitis for which he is set to undergo surgery soon after returning home.
It was the eighth medal that the shooters have won from the Games — one gold, one silver and six bronze medals — all but two of them coming in team events.
Barring Jitu Rai, only Abhinav Bindra has managed to win an individual medal in Incheon, an indication of how competitive shooting has been.
In hockey, the Indian women’s team produced an inspired performance to thrash Malaysia 6-1 to qualify for the semi-finals.
For India, Rani Rampal (4th minute, 20th) and Jaspreet Kaur (9th, 39th) score two goals each, while Namita Toppo (17th) and Vandana Kataria (50th) were the other goal getters.
Malaysia’s lone goal was scored by skipper Nadia Abdul Rahman from a penalty corner.
Indian eves in all likelihood will face last edition’s silver medallist Korea in the semi-finals on Sunday as the hosts are presently leading Pool B and are expected to finish as the toppers.
On the golf course, Udayan Mane tamed the windy conditions to put himself in medal contention with a superb six-under 66, which left him tied third at the midway stage.
Mane, one of the four players to card 66 in the second round, is eight-under 136 and three shots behind the new leader local 17-year-old lad Youm Eunho.
But there was disappointment in volleyball. Indian men spikers gave a gritty fight against last edition’s silver medallists Iran before going down in straight games in their final preliminary round match.
The Indians, who have already advanced to the next round (Play-off Group stage) after winning their earlier two matches, lost 22-25 22-25 18-25 against their more fancied opponents in a 71-minute Group C preliminary round contest at Songnim Gymnasium here.
The fancied Indian recurve archers cut a sorry figure in the individual events but the country is still in with a chance of bagging a bronze medal in the women’s team category.
The women’s recurve team — comprising Deepika Kumari, L Bombayla Devi and Laxmirani Majhi — is still in fray for a medal after making the semifinals.
In tennis, Sanam Singh recovered from a sluggish start to move to the men’s singles quarterfinals and later combined with Saketh Myneni to seal a place in the men’s doubles last-eight as well.
Ranked just inside top-400 at 397, Sanam beat 190th ranked Chung, 7-5 6-1 the third round, which lasted one hour and 24 minutes at Yeorumul Tennis Courts.
Also advancing to the men’s singles last-eight was Yuki Bhambri, who defeated Indonesia’s Christopher Rungkat 6-3 6-3 in one hour and 30 minutes in his third round contest.
A similar dominating performance was dished out by fifth seeds Sania Mirza and Prarthana Thombare in the women’s doubles second round as they blanked Mongolia’s Bolor Enkhbayar and Gotov Dulguunjargal 6-0 6-0 in just 35 minutes.
However, Ankita Raina had a disappointing outing as she crashed out of women’s singles with a 2-6 6-4 1-6 defeat against fourth seed Japanese Eri Hozumi in the third round, lasting one hour and 55 minutes.
With Ankita’s defeat, India’s challenge has ended in women’s singles. Ankita, though, is still in fray in the mixed doubles with Divij Sharan. .
The Indian women’s team, comprising Lajja Gauswami, 44-year-old Anjali Bhagwat and Tejaswini Muley finished sixth in the 50m Rifle 3 Positions Team Finals.
Indian squash players, however, continued their splendid showing. If the women’s team comprising Joshna Chinappa, Dipika Pallikal and Anaka Alankamony outplayed their South Korean opponents 2-0 then Mahesh Mangaonkar, Saurav Ghosal and Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu also eased past Kuwait 2-0.
Ghosal has already added a historic silver to the medal list — a first in the Asian Games squash — in the men’s singles event, though the Kolkata-born player was disappointed to lose the gold to Kuwait’s Abdullah Almezayen.
Dipika, on the other hand, has won a bronze medal in the women’s singles event, also a first for Indian squash.
In the swimming pool, Sejwal topped his heats by clocking 28.25s before holding on to the third spot in the final race with a timing of 28.26s.
It was a bitter-sweet day in the boxing ring where continental champion Shiva Thapa (56kg) was barely tested as he advanced to the quarterfinals but it was curtains for comeback-man Akhil Kumar (60kg) after he lost an edge-of-the-seat last-16 bout.
Also advancing to the quarterfinals was multiple-times national champion Kuldeep Singh (81kg) at the Seonhak Gymnasium.
However, in what came as a shock for the Indian badminton fans, Saina and Kashyap fell by the wayside after losing their respective women’s and men’s singles matches.
Commonwealth Games gold medallist Kashyap failed to pass the Asiad test as he lost to World No.1 Lee Chong Wei 0-2 in the pre-quarterfinals at the Gyeyang Gymnasium, while Saina fizzled out after winning the first game against China’s Yihan Wang 21-18 9-21 7-21 in her quarterfinal encounter.
India’s K Srikanth also lost out in the men’s singles pre-quarterfinals after losing a hard-fought battle against Wanho Son of South Korea 2-1 in an hour and seven minutes.
It was heartbreak for India’s mixed doubles pair of B Sumeeth Reddy and Manu Attri, who lost a hard fought battle in the quarterfinals against Singapore duo of Danny Bawa Chrisnanta and Yu Yan Vanessa Neo 21-18 21-23 21-15 in under 50 minutes.
In the men’s doubles quarterfinals, Attri and Sumeeth Reddy were outplayed by the Indonesian pair of Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan 21-12 21-19 in 32 minutes.

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