Asiad 2018: 4 medals in athletics, new firsts for Sindhu, Saina

Saina got India's first ever bronze in badminton women's singles while Sindhu has become the 1st Indian to reach the final.
Asiad 2018: 4 medals in athletics, new firsts for Sindhu, Saina
Asiad 2018: 4 medals in athletics, new firsts for Sindhu, Saina
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Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra's historic gold medal, along with three silver medals in athletics, continued success stories of P.V. Sindhu and Saina Nehwal and the men's table tennis team's first-ever medal assurance marked a successful day for India at the Asian Games here on Monday.

India continued to shine in athletics for the second straight day, with Neeraj creating a new national record on his way to the title, while Dharun Ayyasamy (400m hurdles), Sudha Singh (3,000 metres steeplechase) and Neena Varakil (women's long jump) clinched the silver medals.

India now is ninth in the medal standings with 41 medals (8 gold, 13 silver, and 20 bronze). Global superpower China leads the table with 191 medals, followed by Japan (136 medals) and South Korea (106 medals).

The day, for India, began with the performances of the badminton superstars, Sindhu and Saina. The latter had to settle for bronze after suffering a 17-21, 14-21 defeat in the semi-finals to Tai Tzu Ying of Taiwan. The 28-year-old's bronze was the first individual badminton medal at the Asiad for India in 36 years.

However, Sindhu soon brought joy to the Indian fans as she stormed into the final with a 21-17, 15-21, 21-10 victory over World No.2 Akane Yagamuchi of Japan. 

The 23-year-old Sindhu became the first Indian shuttler to reach the final of badminton singles competition at the Asiad. It will be the first time India will have two singles shuttlers standing on the podium in the continental quadrennial Games.

Then the women's hockey team took the limelight as it defeated Thailand 5-0 in its final Pool B match to enter the semi-finals. Rani Rampal (37th, 46th, 56th minutes) scored a hat-trick while Monika (52nd) and Navjot Kaur (55th) also found the target in the fourth and final quarter to help India post a comprehensive victory.

Thereafter, India shone bright in the indoor athletics events. Reigning Asian champion Neeraj threw 88.06 metres in his third attempt to clinch the gold, bringing India's second medal in the event in Asiad history. Gurtej Singh had taken a bronze at the 1982 edition in New Delhi.

Such was the domination of the 20-year-old that even his lowest throw of 83.25m was better than the nearest competitor.

In his first attempt, Neeraj recorded 83.46 metres. He fouled his second attempt but the next three attempts saw him throwing 88.06m, 83.25m and 86.36m respectively. Neeraj again fouled his final attempt but it did not matter as the other athletes in the field came nowhere close to his performance.

Sudha grabbed her second medal at the Asian Games as she claimed a silver medal in the women's 3,000 metres steeplechase. Sudha, the reigning Asian champion, clocked 9:40.03 minutes to finish behind Bahrain's Winfred Yavi, who completed the race in 9:36.52 minutes.

Neena clinched silver in the women's long jump, recording a best attempt of 6.51 metres to finish second. Bui Thi Thu Thao of Vietnam registered her season's best attempt of 6.55m to win the gold medal.

In the men's 400 metres hurdles, Dharun claimed the silver medal with a new national record, Dharun recorded his personal best of 48.96 seconds to finish second behind Qatari Abderrahman Samba, who delivered a Games record of 47.6s.

The 21-year-old Tamil Nadu athlete became the first Indian to break the 49s timing.

In the women's 400m hurdles, Anu Raghavan and Jauna Murmu finished fourth and fifth respectively.

In table tennis, the Indian men's table tennis team edged past Japan 3-1 in the quarter-final to assure itself of a historic first medal, while women's lost their quarter-final clash against Hong Kong. Prior to this edition of Asiad, India had not won any medal in table tennis.

India's men's team beat Vietnam and Macau by an identical scoreline of 3-0 in Group D to finish second. In the quarter-final, G. Sathiyan won two matches while veteran Achanta Sharath Kamal won one as they ousted Japan, the last edition's bronze medallist.

The women's team, meanwhile, lost their quarter-final clash against Hong Kong 1-3. Commonwealth Games gold medallist Manika Batra gave India a good start beating Ho Ching Lee but Ayhika Mukherjee lost her match to Hoi Kem Doo, while Mouma Das suffered a reversal at the hands of Wai Yam Minnie to derail their campaign. Manika then fluffed her lines in the fourth match of the game against Hoi Kem Doo as Hong Kong took the tie 3-1.

India also enjoyed a good outing in the boxing ring, with Vikas Krishan and Amit Panghal registering comprehensive victories by identical 5-0 margins to enter the quarter-finals.

Vikas overpowered Ahmed Tanveer of Pakistan by unanimous decision while Amit earned a similar decision against Mongolia's Enkhmandakh Kharkhu.

In squash, the Indian men's team of Saurav Ghoshal, Harinder Sandhu, Ramit Tondon and Mahesh Mangaonkar thrashed Indonesia 3-0 in Pool B and then defeated Singapore 3-0 to boost their chance of reaching the semi-finals.

In the women's category, the India team, comprising Joshna Chinappa, Dipika Pallikal, Tanvi Khanna and Sunayna Krurvilla, registered another deserving victory, outplaying Iran 3-0.

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