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Boxers, paddlers keep India in hunt for second spot

Indian boxers redeemed some reputation by winning all three gold medals they fought for while a fourth gold came the hosts' way in men's table tennis doubles on the penultimate day as a dope scandal rocked their on-field achievements at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi today.

other Updated: Oct 13, 2010 23:36 IST

Indian boxers redeemed some reputation by winning all three gold medals they fought for while a fourth gold came the hosts' way in men's table tennis doubles on the penultimate day as a dope scandal rocked their on-field achievements at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Boxers Suranjoy Singh (52kg), Manoj Kumar (64kg) and Paramjeet Samota (+91kg) garnered gold medals in the ring to make up some ground for the generally disappointing show of Olympic bronze medallist Vijender Singh, Akhil Kumar and Jai Bhagwan.

Achanta Sharath Kamal and Subhajit Saha had earlier bagged the men's doubles table tennis gold. These four gold medals kept India alive in the red-hot fight with England for number two spot and looked all set to go to the wire on the concluding day tomorrow.

India, who also won a silver medal and two bronze medals, took their gold medal tally to 36 that put them one rung below England (37) who were occupying the second spot behind Australia (72).

India's overall medal tally read 36-26-34, England had 37-56-45, while Australia were way ahead with 72-49-47.

The hosts are looking ahead to more gold medals from woman shuttler and top seed Saina Nehwal, no 2 doubles pair
Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa and their men's hockey team who are taking on mighty Australia, the world and defending champions, tomorrow.

The day opened with the shocking revelation that 20km woman walker Rani Yadav had tested positive for prohibited
anabolic agent 19-Norandrosterone to deflate the euphoria surrounding the contingent after yesterday's stellar show in
athletics and men's hockey.

Rani, who finished sixth in 1 hour, 42 minutes, 54 seconds in the 20km walk held on October 9 on Central Delhi
streets, was provisionally suspended and a hearing was scheduled later in the day.

Even as India were recovering from the dope scandal, England sneaked past them in the medals table to stand second
behind Australia.

The pall of gloom surrounding the Indian camp following this unsavoury development lifted a bit when Kamal and Saha
clinched the men's pairs table tennis gold. The duo shocked Singapore's Gao Ning and Yang Zi 4-3 in the final.

The victory was also sweet revenge for Kamal whose dreams of defending his singles title were shattered by Zi who had
scored a 4-3 semi-final win over the Indian.

The Indian duo had despatched Andrew Baggaley and L Pitchford of England 3-2 in the semi-finals. Kamal would fight it out with compatriot Soumyadeeep Roy for the men's singles bronze medal tomorrow. The latter was beaten 4-0 by Ning in the other semi-final.

In women's doubles, India's Poulomi Ghatak and Mouma Das lost in the semi-finals and will have to play in the bronze
medal play-off tomorrow.

Indian women have already clinched a team silver, while their male counterparts have fetched a bronze in the team

Boxer Singh did not have to show his fisticuff powers as his injured Kenyan rival Benson Njangiru failed to show up for
the 52kg title bout awarding the gold to the Indian.

Manoj clinched the 64kg gold with a convincing 11-2 win over Bradley Saunders of England before Samota outclassed
Tariq Abdul Haqq of Trinidad and Tobago 5-1 in the +91kg category to make it three out of three in boxing.

Indian shooters, who have been the biggest achievers, failed to cull a gold and had to settle for a silver and a
bronze on the last day of their campaign.

The silver was claimed by Heena Sidhu in the women's individual 10m air pistol, while 2006 Games hero Samresh Jung
disappointed with a bronze in 25m standard pistol.

Heena missed the gold by a whisker as her 481.6 was just 0.3 less then Malaysia's Pei Chin Bibiana. Australia's Dina
Aspandiyarova (478.8) bagged the bronze.

The Indian woman shooter had won the gold in the 10m pairs event yesterday with Annu Raj Singh, while Jung clinched
the 25m pairs silver with Chandrasekhar Kumar Chaudhary.

'Goldfinger' Jung, who had won seven medals including five gold in the last edition in Melbourne 2006, shot 559 for
a disappointing third-place.

Heena's silver, along with Jung's bronze in men's singles 25m standard pistol, compensated for Narang's flop show
in men's singles 50m rifle prone.

Narang failed to add to his tally of four gold by falling by the wayside for the second day running in his last event.
"The idea was to get maximum number of gold but I was a little bit struggling with prone position," Narang later said.

Indian shooters bade goodbye with 30 medals -- 14 gold, 11 silver and five bronze -- three better than at Melbourne.

India bagged their second bronze of the day in badminton when Kashyap Parupalli beat Chetan Anand 21-15, 21-18 in the men's singles.

The doping shame, often the scourge of India's stints in multi-discipline events, came to light at the customary
morning press conference addressed by CGF chief Michael Fennell.

"We have received another positive (dope) result. The notice has been issued to the (Indian) chef de mission
(Bhuvneshwar Kalita) at 9 am today," Fennell informed.

"We (CGF) met late last night and served the notice to the chef de mission (Kalita) at 9 am," the CGF chief said.
OC secretary-general Lalit Bhanot described the positive dope test returned by the Indian athlete as "unfortunate" and
said this shame has happened despite everyone's best effort to avoid it.

First Published: Oct 13, 2010 19:15 IST