Jakarta/Palembang (Indonesia): Teenage shooter Shardul Vihan bagged silver while tennis players took two medals even as the Indian men’s kabaddi team failed to enter the final at the 18th Asian Games here on Thursday.
Vihan gave the Indian campaign a superb start early in the day by finishing second in the men’s double trap final. The 15-year-old shot 73 to claim the silver medal, while Korea’s 34-year-old Shin Hyunwoo clinched gold scoring 74.
Qatar’s Al Marri Hamad Ali settled for bronze after shooting 53.
Vihan has emerged as one of the leading double trap shooters in India and had clinched four gold medals at the Shotgun Nationals Championship last year.
At the tennis courts, the Indian men’s doubles team of Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan registered a hard fought victory to enter the final.
Bopanna and Sharan were made to work hard for an hour and 12 minutes by the Japanese duo of Kaito Uesugi and Sho Shimabukuro before grinding out a 4-6, 6-3, 10-8 win.
This is the fifth successive Asian Games, when an Indian pair has made it to the final of the men’s doubles. Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi won the gold in 2002 and 2006, while Somdev Devvarman and Sanam Singh won gold in 2010. At Incheon Saketh Myneni and Sanam Singh lost in the 2014 final.
For Divij, the entry into the final is one step better than his bronze medal in 2014, when he paired with Yuki Bhambri. In 2014, India had one gold in mixed doubles (Saketh Myneni and Sania Mirza) besides one silver and three bronze.
In other matches on the day, Ankita Raina had to settle for bronze after losing in the women’s singles semi-final. Prajnesh Gunneswaran also ensured a medal from the men’s singles category by entering the semi-finals.
Despite not being at full fitness, Ankita gave a spirited fight to a much higher rated opponent in top seed Zhang Shuai of China who is placed more than 150 places above her in the WTA rankings.
Despite losing the first set, Ankita fought back and almost won the second set before going down 4-6, 6-7 in a tough, long drawn battle that lasted two hours and 11 minutes.
Later in the day, Prajnesh edged out Kwon Soonwoo of South Korea in a long, bitterly fought three-set battle which also saw a lengthy rain interruption.
The two players fought a see-saw battle for more than four hours before the Indian clinched a 6-7, 6-4, 7-6 verdict.
In the mixed doubles quarter-finals, Bopanna and Ankita lost 4-6, 6-1, 6-10 to Indonesia’s Christopher Rungkat and Aldila Sutjiadi.
But what really overshadowed the day for India was the fact that the men’s kabaddi team suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Iran in the semi-finals.
Iran scripted history in the annals of world kabaddi by stunning India 27-18 in the semi-finals. Pakistan lost 24-27 to a much improved South Korea in the other last four clash.
The two Sub-continental powers — reigning world champions India and once formidable Pakistan — will thus have to be satisfied with a bronze medal each.
This is the first time since the traditional rural sport was included in the Asian Games in 1990 that the Indian men’s team will not take home the gold.
Apart from ending India’s 28-year run as defending champions at the Asiad, Thursday’s defeat was also Indian men’s first at any major tournament. Along with the Asian Games, India have won every World Cup, Asia Cup and South Asian Games till now.
This is also Iran’s first victory over India in the knock-out stages of any tournament. For the Iranians, this is also revenge of sorts for their defeats to India in the finals of the last two Asian Games.
But the women’s team restored some lost pride for India, overwhelming Chinese Taipei 27-14 to enter their third consecutive final. The two-time champions will meet Iran in the final.
In the women’s semi-finals, Chinese Taipei could not repeat their first half performance in the next half against India and got eliminated from the semis.
In rowing, India’s Malkeet Singh and Gurinder Singh missed out on a medal by a fraction of a second in the men’s pair category.
The Indian duo registered a time of 7 minutes and 10.86 seconds to finish fourth. Japan’s Yoshiro Otsuka and Yuta Takano (7:10.53) got the bronze after a closely fought battle with the Indians in the final stages.
China (7:04.07) won the gold medal while Uzbekistan (7:06.11) took silver.
Indian rower Dattu Bhokanal also missed a medal in the men’s single sculls competition.
The 27-year-old did get off to a good start and after a timing of 8 minutes and 28.56 seconds, Dattu found the sixth spot in the finals.
China’s Liang Zhang clinched gold after timing 7:25.36, while South Korea’s Dongyong Kim and Japan’s Ryuta Arakawa bagged silver and bronze respectively.
In men’s doubles sculls, India’s Om Prakash and Sawarn Singh clocked 6:50.91 to finish fourth in the final. Uzbekistan registered 6:48.19 to win gold while China (6:48.65) and Thailand (6:49.82) took silver and bronze respectively.
In women’s double sculls, Sayali Shelake and Pooja finished sixth and last in the final with a time of 8:21.76. China (7:33.55), South Korea (7:34.73) and Iran (7:35.45) got gold, silver and bronze respectively.
In men’s lightweight four, the Indian team of Bhopal Singh, Jagvir Singh, Tejash Shinde and Ganesh Naukarkar finished fourth with a time of 6:43.20. China (6:28.07), Indonesia (6:31.08) and Uzbekistan (6:38.40) clinched gold, silver and bronze respectively.
India’s Champa Mourya finished at the seventh place in the final of the women’s canoe single category after scoring 161.63.
China’s Shi Chen clinched the yellow metal with a score of 110.32, while Taiwan’s Weihan Chen and Thailand’s Atcharaporn Duanglawa settled for the silver and bronze medal respectively.
Earlier on Thursday, Champa had qualified for the canoeing final after finishing seventh in the semi-finals with a score of 176.14.
In badminton, top shuttlers Saina Nehwal and P.V. Sindhu registered contrasting victories in the first round of women’s singles matches while the mixed doubles team crashed out of the 18th Asian Games here on Thursday.
While Saina swept aside Soraya Aghaeihajiagha of Iran 21-7, 21-9 in less than half an hour, Sindhu snatched a 21-10, 12-21, 23-21 victory from the jaws of defeat against Vietnam’s Thi Trang Vu.
The mixed doubles team of Ashwini Ponappa and Satwik Ranireddy lost 25-27, 16-21 to Thailand’s World No. 15 pair of Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai.
Soon after, Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Sikki Reddy also lost to Malaysia’s Liu Ying Gho and Peng Soon 15-21, 21-23 to end India’s mixed doubles campaign.
In men’s doubles, Satwik, Chirag Shetty and Manu Attri, Sumit Reddy qualified for the Round of 16.
While Satwik and Chirag recorded a facile 21-12, 21-14 win over Hong Kong’s Chun Hei Tam and Yonny Chung; Manu and Sumit were more severe with Maldives’ Mohamed Rasheed and Thoif Ahmed Mohamed, brushing them aside 21-10, 21-8.
The women’s doubles pair of Rutaparna Panda and Arathi Sunil, meanwhile, went down to Thai pair Chayanit Chaladchalam and Phataimas Muenwong 11-21, 6-21.
Earlier, the Indian men’s and women’s doubles teams got off to winning starts in their respective round of 32 matches.
The women’s pair of Ponappa and Sikki Reddy registered a convincing 21-16, 21-15 win over their Hong Kong counterparts Yeung Nga Ting and Wing Yung Ng.
The Indians gave little quarter to their counterparts and used their experience to see off late surges in both sets.
Later, Satwik and Chirag eased past the Chun Hei Tam and Yonny Chung 21-12, 21-14 using their superior physical power to good effect.
The Indian duo looked superior from start to finish, wrapping up the tie in 32 minutes.