Asian Games champion Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy’s bid for the fourth BWF title of the season failed as they lost to China’s world No. 1 pair of Liang Wei Keng and Wang Chang in three games in the double's final at the China Masters badminton tournament in Shenzhen on Sunday.
The Indian shooting contingent capped off its campaign at the 19th Asian Games with a gold medal in the men’s trap team event right after the women trap shooters opened the day with a silver, and later Kynan Chenai added an individual bronze in trap to total 22 medals from the shooting range.
As many as 13 medals were added to India’s tally on the day, taking the overall count to 52, including 13 gold, 21 silver and 18 bronze medals.
The track and field athletes headlined Day 8 of the competitions at Hangzhou, with steeplechaser Avinash Sable and shot-putter Tajinder Pal Singh Toor clinching gold medals in their respective events. In women’s 1500m, Harmilan Kaur Bains stamped her class with a silver in her first ever major outing while Jyothi Yarraji bagged a silver after being upgraded from a bronze, following a protest from the Athletics Federation of India over a false start by home favourite WU Yanni in the women’s 100m hurdles event.
The medals continued to pour in from the track and field arena, as Sreeshankar Murali won a silver in long jump while Ajay Kumar Saroj and Jinson Johnson won silver and bronze respectively in the men’s 1500m final. At 40, Seema Punia, became the oldest to win the bronze in women’s shot put while Nandini Agasara took home the bronze in women’s heptathlon 800m event. Swapna Barman, the defending champion, however finished a heartbreaking fourth.
Among other medallists on the day was golfer Aditi Ashok winning a historic silver, while reigning world champion Nikhat Zareen had to settle for a bronze after going down 2-3 in a split decision loss to Raksat Chuthamat of Thailand in the semifinal of women’s 50kg weight division.
Later in the day, the Indian men’s badminton team picked a silver medal after going down 3-2 to the hosts.
After the rich haul of medals from the rifle and pistol shooters, the trap shooters ensured India’s dominance continued on the podium in both men and women’s categories, taking India’s overall shooting tally to 22 that includes seven gold, nine silver and six bronze medals.
On Sunday, the triumvirate of Prithviraj Tondaiman, Kynan Chenai, and Zoravar Singh Sandhu won the gold medal in men’s trap shooting after the women’s team of Manisha Keer, Preeti Rajak and Rajeshwari Kumari finished second on the podium.
The men’s team combined for a cumulative 361 points, which was enough to finish ahead of Kuwait’s Khaled Almudhaf, Talal Alrashidi and Abdulrahman Alfaihan (359) and China’s Yuhao Guo, Ying Qi and Yuhao Wang (354). Shooting last, Alrashidi tried his best and scored 24 points but that was not enough to surpass the Indian total.
Kynan then went on to win an individual bronze, the Olympian’s first individual Asian Games medal. As Kynan bowed with 32-hits at the end of 40, China’s Ying Qi had caught up on Al-Rashidi and was just one behind. He got all of the final 10-birds as the Kuwaiti missed two, to take an incredible gold.
Meanwhile, the India women’s trap team consisting of Manisha, Preeti and Rajeshwari totaled 337 to fetch the silver medal and finish behind China’s Qingnian Li, Cuicui Wu and Xinqiu Zhang, who combined to shoot a world and games record score of 357 for the gold medal. Kazakhstan’s Mariya Dmitriyenko, Aizhan Dosmagambetova and Anastassiya Prilepina (336) took home the bronze medal.
Manisha, however, finished sixth in the individual Women’s Trap, with China bagging both gold and silver.
With less than a year left for the Paris Olympics, reigning World Champion Nikhat Zareen had already booked herself a quota place by reaching the knockouts. However, on Sunday, the Birmingham Commonwealth Games champion was served a timely reality check by Thailand’s Raksat Chuthamat in the semifinal of women’s 50kg weight division, eventually ending the India’s dreams of an Asian Games gold.
Nikhat displayed great technique in the first round with a beautiful combo and followed it up by a looping right cross and then a left overhand, but despite that managed to get by a narrow 3-2 in her favour. This meant that the Nizamabad boxer had to go all out in the second round.
However, Nikhat didn’t connect as much as she would have liked to as her looping punches failed to land on target and was often the second to land a punch as the exchanges began, taking the bout to the decider.
Sensing the urgency, Nikhat looked set to begin on the offensive but found Raksat clinching everytime she tried to mount an offence. The Thai boxer managed to keep herself out of Nikhat’s reach everytime the Indian went for the attacks. Raksat’s tight defence eventually made the difference as the judges awarded the contest in the Thai pugilist’s favour 3-2, thus ending Nikhat’s Asian Games campaign with a bronze medal.
In women’s 57kg quarterfinal, Parveen Hooda made it to the women’s 57kg semifinals by defeating Sitora Turdibekova of Uzbekistan by unanimous decision. The 23-year-old Indian boxer, by virtue of making the top four, secured a maiden Asian Games medal as well as a quota for the Paris Olympics next year.
Parveen will next face Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yu Ting in the semifinals on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Jasmine Lamboria missed out on a medal after she lost by RSC (referee stops count) in the women’s 60kg quarters against Ungyong Won of the North Korea. The Indian endured three standing counts in a space of one minute before the referee stopped the bout.
Among others, the Indian women’s hockey team was held to 1-1 draw against South Korea while in squash, India beat Phillipines 2-0 in mixed doubles Pool D. Megha Pradeep qualified for canoe sprint 200m women’s semifinals, after finishing in fifth place in her heats, while Soniya Devi’s fourth place finish in the women’s kayak single 500m heats, ensured her entry into the semifinals.