Inaugurating the Syed Modi India International Badminton Tournament 2023, the Chief Minister highlighted the remarkable performances of athletes from Uttar Pradesh in the Asian Games.
Defending champion Neeraj Chopra and Kishore Kumar Jena completed a 1-2 finish in men’s javelin as the medal rush continued from the track and field events on Day 11 of the 19th Asian Games, taking India’s tally to an unprecedented 81 medals, including 18 gold, 31 silver and 32 bronze medals. However, bizarre goof ups by officials, especially in athletics (read women’s 100m hurdles involving Jyothi Yarraji, and men’s javelin final) have in a way marred the competition’s conduct.
Reigning World and Olympic champion Neeraj did not mince words while saying, “I haven’t seen anything like this in a big tournament. Athletes can get mentally down, even Jyothi was affected.”
Meanwhile, the famed quartet of Muhammad Anas, Amoj Jacob, Muhammed Ajmal and Rajesh Ramesh lived up to their billing, beating Qatar to take gold in the men’s 4×400 relay while the women’s team of Vithya, Aishwarya, Prachi, Subha bagged the silver. Fresh from winning the 3000m steeplechase crown, Avinash Sable continued his top form with a silver in the men’s 5000m final.
Middle-distance sensation Harmilan Bains clinched her second medal of the Games, with a silver in women’s 800m event. Earlier in the day, Ram Baboo and Manju Rani picked the bronze in the 35km race walk mixed team.
Earlier, the compound archery mixed team of Jyothi Surekha Vennam and Pravis Ojas Deotale opened the day’s campaign with a gold while the mixed squash team of Anahat Singh and Abhay Singh settled for a bronze.
Lovlina Borgohain, the reigning world champion and 2022 world championship bronze medallist Parveen Hooda, ended India’s boxing campaign with a silver and a bronze, respectively. On the mat, wrestler Sunil Kumar ended India’s 13-year wait for a medal in Greco-Roman category by picking a bronze in 87kg category.
The Indian mixed compound archery team, featuring Ojas Deotale and Jyothi Surekha Vennam, came up with a near-perfect show, dropping just one point to defeat their South Korean opponents by one-point and clinch the gold medal in Hangzhou.
In the battle between the top-two seeds, the No. 1 Indian pair pipped So Chaewon and Joo Jaehoon 159-158.
On an overcast morning at the Fuyang Yinhu Sports Center field, Jyothi and Ojas hit the bullseye on 44 of their 48 attempts, while missing the 10 by a whisker in the other four.
The Indian duo entered the final with a 159-154 win over Kazakhstan. They had just one 9 and the rest were all 10s in the semifinals against the Kazakh pair of Adel Zhexenbinova and Andrey Tyutyun. Earlier in the day, the Indians edged past Malaysia 158-155 to advance to the semifinals. Kazakhstan defeated Thailand 154-152 to make it to the last four stages.
It is India’s second archery gold medal in Asian Games history since the lone gold in the men’s team event at the 2014 Games in Incheon. The gold at Hangzhou also marked a significant achievement for Indian archers at the continental Games, setting them on course for winning four medals.
Jyothi and Ojas, meanwhile, will also feature in their individual gold medal matches on Saturday.
In what could have been an all-Indian final in the mixed doubles squash event that made its debut at the Hangzhou Asian Games, Anahat Singh and Abhay Singh went down in the semifinal, paving way for the Malaysian combo of Aifa Binti Azman and Mohammad Syafiq to face India’s Dipika Pallikal and Harinder Pal Singh.
Anahat and Abhay settled for the bronze medal in the event after losing to Malaysia’s Aifa Binti Azman and Mohammad Syafiq. The Indian pair lost 8-11, 11-2, 11-9 in the second semifinal.
Earlier, the other Indian mixed doubles squash pair of Dipika and Harinder beat Hong Kong China’s Lee Ya Ki and Wong Chi Him 7-11, 11-7, 11-9 in the semifinal to progress to the gold medal match.
The final will be played on Thursday.
India’s Sunil Kumar opened wrestling’s tally at the ongoing Asian Games with a bronze in the men’s Greco-Roman 87kg. The 2020 Asian champion registered a 2-1 win by points against Atabek Azisbekov of Kyrgyzstan in the bronze medal match.
Earlier, Sunil began with a close 4-3 win over China’s Fei Ping and followed that up with a technical superiority victory over Tajikistan’s Sukhrob Abdulkhaev, winning the quarterfinal in the first period itself.
Later, in the race to the gold medal, Sunil lost 1-4 to reigning Asian champion Naser Alizadeh from Iran.
In the bronze medal bout, Sunil showed great technical acumen to skillfully defend himself twice from the ‘par terre position’, thus blocking his opponent to score from the ground and eventually secured his medal with a 2-1 victory.
Trailing 0-1 after Azisbekov managed to milk a passivity point, Sunil successfully challenged the referee’s two-point decision given in the opponent’s favour, as the Kyrgyzstan grappler wasn’t in control of the push-out move. Sunil eventually got the decisive point after being ahead on criteria.
The other Indians in contention — Gyanender (60kg), Neeraj (67kg) and Vikas (77kg) — could not even win a single round.
Gyanender lost his opening bout 1-7 to Iran’s Meysam Dalkhani, while Neeraj lost 3-5 to Uzbekistan’s Makhmud Bakhshilloev. Vikas lost his bout by technical superiority to China’s Rui Liu.
On Thursday, the two remaining Indian Greco Roman wrestlers — Narinder Cheema (97kg) and Naveen (130kg) will be in action.
The women’s competition will also begin on Thursday and fast-rising Antim Panghal (53kg) will be in action along with the talented Pooja Gehlot (50kg) and Mansi Ahlawat (57kg).
Elsewhere, in hockey, India managed to avoid the 2018 semifinal heartbreak, as the men’s team entered the final with a 5-3 win over South Korea. The Indian women’s kabaddi team won 54-22 against Thailand in their third match to top the Group A points table. The victory also assured Ritu Negi and Co. a semi-final spot and a medal at the Asian Games 2023. The two-time Asian champions India will play Nepal in the semi-final on Friday.
In roller skating, Jinesh Satyan Nanal and Shreyasi Joshi were ranked seventh in the mixed inline freestyle skating slalom pair final. Jinesh and Shreyasi will feature in the individual preliminary rounds on Thursday.
In Sport climbing, Indian women’s speed relay team finished sixth with a time of 39.598 seconds in the qualification round and failed to make the heats. Only the top four teams made the cut for the heats.
In Bridge, Indian men set up a final clash with Hong Kong after pipping China 2-1 in the semifinal. The Indian men had won a bronze in 2018 Jakarta Games, and look on course to better the color in Hangzhou.