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Saturday, Aug 17, 2019

Jitu Rai, badminton and table tennis add to India’s gold rush in Gold Coast

India won a total of seven medals, including three golds, on Monday to climb to third in the 2018 Commonwealth Games standings in Gold Coast

other-sports Updated: Apr 09, 2018 23:38 IST

Gold Coast
India's Jitu Rai celebrates winning the gold medal on the podium following the men's 10m air pistol shooting final during the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games at the Belmont Shooting Complex in Brisbane on April 9, 2018.
India's Jitu Rai celebrates winning the gold medal on the podium following the men's 10m air pistol shooting final during the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games at the Belmont Shooting Complex in Brisbane on April 9, 2018.(AFP)

Sharpshooter Jitu Rai and the Indian mixed badminton and men’s table tennis teams bagged gold medals in another good day for India at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast on Monday. Their exploits helped increase India’s gold medal count to 10, and with shooter Mehuli Ghosh and weightlifter Pardeep Singh adding a silver medal each and shooters Apurvi Chandela and Om Prakash Mitherval picking a bronze apiece, India’s tally rose to 19, putting them in third place on gold medal count though New Zealand have four more medals overall but only eight gold.

As the Gold Coast Games hit the midway mark, Australia was breezing ahead at the top with 39 gold, 33 silver and 34 bronze for a total tally of 106 medals. England were second with 63 medals including 22 gold and 25 silver.

India’s shooting stars had started their campaign on Sunday and Jitu Rai and Om Prakash Mitherval started from where their teammates had left on Sunday as they qualified for the men’s 10 metre air pistol final with Mitherval equalling the Games Record with a total of 584. Jitu qualified fourth with 570. However, the seasoned campaigner turned the tables on his young compatriot by shooting consistently well in the final while Mitherval succumbed to nerves and made some mistakes.

READ | India win gold in mixed team badminton at 2018 Commonwealth Games

Jitu built up a good lead in the initial series and went on to finish with a new Games Record score of 235.1. Australia’s Kerry Bell nudged past Mitherval into second postiion and could have troubled Jitu too but for a 9.6 and 8.6 in the last two shots. Mitherval took bronze with 214.3.

Premature celebration costs Mehuli gold

Mehuli shot out of the blocks with some precise 10s in the women’s 10m air rifle after qualifying fifth as Apurvi set the stage ablaze with a qualification Games record of 423. However, Mehuli showed better nerves and shot consistently well even as Singapore’s eventual winner Martina Lindsay Veloso shot superbly to open up a big lead. Mehuli not only overtook Apurvi to jump to second position. However, the 18-year-old from West Bengal lost her concentration after prematurely celebrating her victory when she shot a brilliant bull’s eye 10.9 on the last shot. That had actually tied the score but as Mehuli had started disarming her rifle, she had to stop and get ready for the shoot-off. The Indian managed only 9.9 while Veloso shot 10.3 to win gold. Apurvi took the bronze medal.

But the day belonged to the men’s table tennis team and the badminton mixed team as they overcame tough opponents to win gold.

READ |India clinch men’s table tennis gold medal at 2018 Commonwealth Games

The mixed team win in badminton was extra special as India won it for the first time, that too by defeating Malaysia, the Asian powerhouse, in the final. The win was extra sweet for Kidambi Srikanth as he defeated former world No 1 and three-time Olympic silver medallist Lee Chong Wei in straight sets. Saina Nehwal sealed victory with a hard-fought three-game win against Soniia Cheah in the fourth match.

The men’s table tennis team completed a grand double for India by winning the team gold to add to the women’s team’s gold won on Sunday night.

Achanta Sharath Kamal, who won the singles gold in 2006 in Melbourne, was the star performer as he scored crucial wins, two singles triumphs in a tough semi-final victory against Singapore and one against Nigeria in the final.

READ | Mehuli Ghosh admits premature celebration cost her gold medal in Commonwealth Games

Lifter Pardeep Singh lifted 152kg in snatch and 200 in clean and jerk as he finished with 352kg in men’s 105kg category. He failed at 209 and 211kg and was unable overtake Samoa’s Sanele Mao, who won gold with 360kg.

India could have ended the weightlifting competition with another medal but Gurdeep Singh finished fourth in men’s +105kg.

It was the end of the weightlifting competition at Gold Coast with India claiming a rich haul of five gold, two silver and two bronze.

The hopes now rest in shooting and individual competitions in table tennis and badminton besides boxing, in which many of India’s boxers are in medal contention, while wrestling will start on April 12.

First Published: Apr 09, 2018 21:04 IST

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