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Gold for Lee-Hesh, silver for Sania

The top seeds defeated Sanchai and Sonchat Ratiwatana in a marathon and rain-interrupted final.

india Updated: Dec 15, 2006 15:21 IST

It was a fine day for India at the 15th Asian Games in Doha, on Wednesday. First, Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi, the defending champions, won the gold in the Asian Games men's doubles on Wednesday. The top seeds defeated the twins from Thailand, Sanchai Ratiwatana and Sonchat Ratiwatana, in a marathon and rain-interrupted final 5-7, 7-6 (9/7) 6-3.

But teen icon SaniaMirza failed to win the gold in the women's singles. Sania, who shocked top seed Li Na of China in straight sets in the semi-final on Tuesday, could not repeat the show and went down to China's Jie Zheng in three sets. She had to remain content with silver.

The 20-year-old, 66th-ranked Sania, stumbled at the last hurdle by committing 45 unforced errors as the higher-ranked (World No. 33) Jie Zheng completed a 6-4, 1-6, 6-1 victory in one hour and 49 minutes.

The result came as a huge disappointment for the large crowd,mainly comprising flag-waving Indian expatriates, who vociferously cheered the Indian star right through the contest held under a blazing sun. However, Sania still has a chance to finish with a gold medal as she is partnering Leander Paes against Satoshi Iwabuchi and AkikoMorigamiof Japan in the mixed doubles title clash.

The chess team continued its relentless run towards a gold medal despite a setback when Grandmaster Krishnan Sasikiran was held to a draw by his Iranian opponent Ehsan Ghaem Maghami in the seventh round. But Koneru Humpy and Pentala Harikrihna ensured India finished the round with 18.5 points out of 21 in their kitty, a lead of 4.5 over their nearest rivals China, which has virtually assured them of the gold.

First Published: Dec 15, 2006 15:21 IST