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India go down to Uzbekistan in football final

It couldn?t have been more heartbreaking. With less than half-a-minute left, Uzbekistan?s Islam Innomov struck from 25 yards.

othersports Updated: Nov 01, 2003 13:07 IST

It couldn’t have been more heartbreaking than this. Into the injury time and with less than half-a-minute left, Uzbekistan’s Islam Innomov struck from 25 yards.

The ball zipped through the air, escaped a lunging Sangram Mukherjee’s grasp and banged into the net. The sudden shot had caught India completely unawares. They knew their dreams of winning the football gold was all but over. Half-a-minute later, Chinese referee Lu Jun made it official under the Lal Bahadur stadium lights on Friday.

Ironically India had put the ball into the Uzbek net in the very first minute, but Jun decided that it was not a goal. The ball did appear to have been headed in by Jo-Paul Anchery, but the linesman had ruled him off-side. Indian protests went in vain and each member of this squad, particularly I M Vijayan, might continue to have nightmares for quite some time.

Vijayan definitely did not want his India career to end this way, given the fact he missed the best opportunity for any team in the match. It came in the 70th minute when Bhutia, back-heeled one for him. The Kerala striker grabbed it, ran into the box unchallenged and from six yards, shot into the goalkeeper’s hand.

Rich haul

Meanwhile, India bagged a rich haul of two gold and five silver in boxing events of the games. While Akhil Kumar won the gold in Fly Weight( over 48 Kg To 51 Kg), Jitender Kumar got the same in Light Heavy Weight (over 75 Kg To 81 Kg).

In tennis, India completed a clean sweep of gold medals. Mahesh Bhupathi and Sania Mirza beat Rushmi Chakravarty and Vishal Uppal 7-6 (7-1), 6-3 for mixed doubles gold, while Vijay Kannan beat Johnny Arcilla of Phillipines 6-, 6-1 in the men’s singles final. India also won gold in women’s doubles.

First Published: Oct 31, 2003 23:44 IST