Athletes provide the sparks as India clinch three gold medals | other | Hindustan Times
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Athletes provide the sparks as India clinch three gold medals

The athletes provided a huge boost to the country's lacklustre campaign in the 16th Asian Games by fetching two gold medals while Ronjan Sodhi brought an end to the gold drought in shooting as India bagged as many as nine medals on an eventful ninth day of competitions Guangzhou today.

other Updated: Nov 21, 2010 20:21 IST

The athletes provided a huge boost to the country's lacklustre campaign in the 16th Asian Games by fetching two gold medals while Ronjan Sodhi brought an end to the gold drought in shooting as India bagged as many as nine medals on an eventful ninth day of competitions Guangzhou on Sunday.

After a disasppointing medal collection on the first week of competitions, long distance runner Preeja Sreedharan and steeple chaser Sudha Singh stole the thunder with their gold-winning feats on the track to raise hopes of a top ten finish for India on the medal table.

Ace shooter Ronjan Sodhi finally brought an end to the shooting contingent's gold drought by taking the honour in the men's double trap event.

The 31-year-old Sodhi, the world record holder shotgun shooter, made amends for his colleagues' miserable campaign and provided the first gold medal from the shooting range, which has not been too productive for the Indian shooters so far.

Kavita Raut fetched a silver in the women's 10,000 m run while star tennis player Sania Mirza and grapplers Ravinder Singh (60 kg Greco Roman) and Sunil Kumar Rana (66 kg Greco Roman) were among those who claimed individual bronze medals.

Sodhi teamed up with Asher Noria and Vikram Bhatnagar to claim the bronze in the double trap team event while the women's archery team comprising Dola Banerjee, Deepika Kumari and Rimil Buriuly also chipped in with a bronze.

With the addition of nine more medals, India's medal tally climbed to five gold, 11 silver and 17 bronze. India had finished tenth on the medals table in the last Asian Games in Doha with a tally of 10-17-26.

Somdev Devvarman also assured India of at least a bronze medal by storming into the semifinals but Karan Rastogi went down fighting to top seed Denis Istomin in the men's singles tennis quarterfinals.

The men's hockey team also had a good day as they beat Japan 3-2 for their fourth consecutive win and finished atop the points-table in group B.

After a generally disappointing show, Sodhi turned the tide for the shooters as he clinched the top honours with a score of 186 after being second behind China's Pan Qiang at the end of the qualification stage.

Sodhi, part of the silver winning squad in the same event four years ago at Doha in Qatar, also reeled in the team bronze for India with his stupendous effort at the Guangzhou Shotgun Centre.

Sodhi shot 139 (47, 44 and 48) and was four shots behind China's Qiang going into the finals competed by six men and shot 47 in the final while the host nation shooter flopped with a 38 for an overall tally of 181.

This was the first gold from the much-heralded shooting squad after they started competing on November 13 and it was also the eighth medal hauled in by the marksmen and women who have so far won one gold, three silver and four bronze medals.

While Sodhi won the top honours in the individual, he combined with Asher Noria and Vikram Bhatnagar (16, 130) to rake in the team bronze medal with a combined aggregate of 403. Noria shot 46, 45 and 43 in the qualification while Bhatnagar came up with a sequence of 47, 40 and 43.

In the showpiece athletics event, long-distance runner Preeja Sreedharan clocked a personal best of 31:50:47 in the women's 10,000m final.

Kavita Raut, who won the bronze in the women's 10000m at the Commonwealth Games last month, walked away with the silver with a personal best timing of 31:51.44.

Later, Sudha Singh fetched India's second gold medal in track and field events and fifth overall by winning the 3000m Steeplechase event with her personal-best timing.

Sudha made up for her poor outing at last month's Commonwealth Games, clocking 9:55.67s to take the honours at the Aoti Main Stadium.

The Indian hopes of a gold medal in the women's singles tennis event were dashed when Sania Mirza settled for a bronze after losing to third seed Akgul Amanmuradova in the semifinals.

Sania lost the long-drawn-out battle, that lasted two hours and 49 minutes, against the big-serving Uzbek rival 7-6 (7), 3-6, 4-6 by committing a number of forehand errors to exit from the competition.

Indian women archers settled for a bronze in the team event after missing out on an opportunity to stun world number one South Korea in the semifinals shoot-off.

After qualifying for the semifinals with an easy 214-202 victory over North Korea, the Indian trio of Dola Banerjee, Deepika Kumari and Rimil Buriuly were leading by two points at 167-165 after 18 of the 24 arrows against South Korea.

But, the Indians failed to get over their nerves in the final six arrows (two each by the three archers) and the score was tied at 221 each in the end.

In the shoot-off, one of the South Korean trio hit the bull's eye while the other two scored 9 and 10. India could only come up with 9, 8, 9 to lose the tie.

In the bronze medal play-off against Chinese Taipei, India were trailing from the beginning and they were four points behind after 18 of the 24 arrows.

India scored 56 from the last six arrows as against 51 by their opponents to win the close contest 218-217. More PTI SSR

Indian wrestlers started their campaign impressively with Ravinder Singh and Sunil Kumar Rana clinching bronze medals in their respective weight categories in the Greco-Roman style. Guangzhou today.

Even though Ravinder could not repeat his Commonwealth Games gold-medal winning effort, he opened India's account in wrestling by winning a bronze in the 60kg category and then another Delhi Games gold medallist Rana doubled the joy with another bronze in the 66kg.

While CWG gold medallist Ravinder defeated Muhammad Aliansyah of Indonesia 9-3 in the repechage to bag the bronze, Rana got the better of Sutep Oomchompoo of Thailand 4-2 to register his name in the medals tally.

Indian men spikers' dream run in Games came to a screeching halt after they were thumped 0-3 by Thailand in the quarterfinals.

After impressive wins against Japan and Qatar in the league stages, the Indian men's volleyball team failed to register a hat-trick of wins, going down fighting 20-25 23-25 22-25 to Thailand in the last eight round.

The Indian women spikers, on the other hand, slumped to their third consecutive defeat in four matches after they were thrashed 0-3 by Kazakhstan in their preliminary Group B, match.

The Indian eves were no match for the Kazakh girls who spanked them 18-25 9-25 10-25 in little more than an hour.

In tennis, second seed Somdev, ranked 106 on the ATP circuit, fought back from 1-4 down in the opening set to complete a 6-4, 6-4 win over lowly ranked Chinese rival Zhang Ze in one hour and 51 minute during which he called tournament director Chen Shu of China to court one to settle a controversial ruling by umpire I M Chahoo of Korea.

Preeti Beniwal gave India a rousing start in women's boxing as she advanced to the 60kg quarterfinals with a thumping win in the discipline which made its Asian Games debut today. Beniwal out-punched Mongolia's Erdene Suvd Oyungerel 8-2 in the pre-quarterfinals.

In athletics, Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Harminder Singh finished a disappointing sixth in the men's 20km race walk event. Harminder clocked a below-par 1:26:33 to finish sixth. He had clocked 1:23:28 in the Commonwealth Games last month.

Another Indian in the fray, Baljinder Singh finished seventh with an effort of 1:28:06.

India thrashed Qatar 3-0 in their opening pool B match of the men's squash team event.