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Jung adjudged best athlete

He becomes the first Indian ever to bag the honour in C'wealth Games history.

india Updated: Mar 26, 2006 19:08 IST

Ace shooter Samresh Jung might have missed out on a record seven gold medals but the Indian more than made up for it when he was adjudged the "Best Athlete of the 18th Commonwealth Games" on Sunday.

Jung, who won five gold, a silver and a bronze in pistol shooting competitions, becomes the first Indian ever to bag the honour in Commonwealth Games history.

The 35-year old CISF Inspector from Delhi had set a target of winning an unprecedented seven gold in a single edition of the Games at the start of the event.

But a wandering mind in a shoot-out forced him to settle for bronze in the 25m centre fire pistol individual event before a malfunctioning gun in the standard fire pistol individual competition saw him end up ninth.

Jung has already left for China where he will be competing in the ISSF Shooting World Cup.

HJ Dora, Chef de Mission of the Indian contingent, said: "It is a rare honour for an Indian athlete and it will inspire the younger generation in the country to come up with more medal winning performances in the international arena.

"The whole Indian contingent is proud of Jung's exploits. The long periods of training and hard work put in by him has borne fruit."

However, the CRPF inspector showed strength of character to come back and win a bronze at the next edition of the championship in Kingston, Jamaica.

Harwant Kaur and Krishna Poonia were the other Indians in the women's discus fray at Melbourne, but Seema left them far behind with an attempt of 60.56m, better than anything she managed in 2005 or 2006. For the record, Poonia finished fifth and Harwant seventh.

In fact, had the Haryana girl got near her personal best of 64.64m, she would have landed the gold medal in place of South African Elizna Naude who threw the disc to a distance of 61.55m.

Destiny smiled on the Indian 4x400m relay team also when the fancied Jamaicans dropped the baton and the English women crossed the line ahead of the field but were later disqualified for changing their positions.

The quartet of Rajwinder Kaur, Chitra Soman, Manjit Kaur and Pinki Parmanik came home in 3:29.57 behind Australia who clocked 3:28.66.

Incidentally, the national record of 3:26.89 posted at the Athens Olympics would have seen another gold added to the Indian kitty.

India also sent a small contingent of Elite Athletes with Disabilities and Ranjith Kumar Jayaseelan grabbed a bronze in the men's seated discus throw with an attempt of 29.88m.

What is required is more quality international exposure, better facilities and proper guidance.

The event was dominated by local talent Bronwyn Thompson with a Games record of 6.97m who cleared the best four distances achieved in the competition.

But Anju seemed strangely out of rhythm, and though the mark was her best effort of 2006 so far, she finished behind several lesser known competitors who performed only marginally better.

Much was expected of the Indian trio of JJ Shobha, Soma Biswas and Susmita Singha Roy in women's heptathlon. Soma and Susmita had starred in an Indian 1-2 at the Asian Championship at Incheon, South Korea, last year, while Shobha had earned kudos for her courage in competing despite injury at the Athens Olympics.

But the three disappointed and finished way down the leaderboard without ever looking like challenging their personal best tallies.

US-based Vikas Gowda was also one of those to look out for as he entered the shot put and discus throw. He made it to the finals in both the events but finished fifth and sixth respectively.

The disappointment would be compounded by the knowledge that his personal best of 64.69m would have got him a discus gold.

The decathlon national record holder Jora Singh limped out after four events due to an ankle injury while the fancied Ghamanda Ram bowed out in the heats itself.