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Lifting hopes of further gold medal success were boxing icon MC Mary Kom, who assured herself of a first CWG medal by winning her quarter-final bout, and the table tennis and badminton teams who also guaranteed medals after reaching their respective finals. In other good news, the Indian women’s team beat England 2-1 to move to the top of Pool A.
On debut, teenaged Manu Bhaker shoots gold, Heena Sindhu silver
Punam, 22, bettered the 63kg bronze she won at the 2014 Glasgow CGW by dominating the 69kg event at the Carrara Sports Club. The weightlifter from Uttar Pradesh finished with a combined effort of 122 (100 in snatch and 122 in clean and jerk) to take India’s overall medal tally at the Gold Coast Games to seven.
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That became nine not long after at the Belmont Shooting Centre, where the women’s pair of Bhaker and Heena – recipient of the Times of India Sports Awards (TOISA) Shooter of the Year award in February – finished first and second in a captivating shooting final. At her first CWG, the 16-year-old Bhaker put in a tremendous performance as he held her own against older and more experienced shooters, firing a total of 240.9 to take gold. Sidhu – recipient of the Times of India Sports Awards (TOISA) Shooter of the Year award in February – stormed back from the face of elimination in stunning manner to claim silver with a total effort of 234. Bhaker had earlier shot a qualifying CWG record score of 388/400 in her first appearance at the quadrennial games.
India’s tenth medal of the CWG came in the men’s 10m air rifle final where Ravi claimed bronze. Having entered the final after finishing second in qualifying – behind compatriot Deepak Kumar who shot a Games record qualifying score of 627.2 – the 29-year-old Indian Air Force sergeant from Meerut shot very well in the final even as compatriot Deepak Kumar bowed out, and finished third with a total of 224.1. Four years ago in Glasgow, Ravi had fallen agonisingly close of a bronze in the same event.
Mary Kom assured herself of a CWG medal after beating Scotland’s Megan Gordon in the women’s 45-48kg quarter-finals. The one medal missing from Mary’s cabinet is at the CWG – she has never participated at the quadrennial games – and she has now ensured herself one.
In the women’s team squash semi-finals against England, India bossed England 3-0 to enter the final. Manika Batra gave India a 1-0 lead by beating Kelly Sibley 9-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-7 and then Madhurika Patkar overcame Tin-Tin Ho 11-7, 13-11, 10-12, 11-9. Sealing India’s passage to the final was the pair of Patkar and Mouma Das who beat Sibley and Maria Tsaptsinos 11-7, 8-11, 11-7, 11-1.
In the badminton team semi-finals, India defeated Singapore 3-0 to also reach the final. Ashwini Ponnappa and Satwik Rankireddy gave India a 1-0 lead over Singapore with a 22-20, 21-18 win, followed by Kidambi Srikanth beating Keen Yew Lot 21-17, 21-14. In the men’s doubles, Satwik and Chirag Shetty were beaten 21-17, 19-21, 12-21 but Saina Nehwal delivered in her singles’ match to beat Jia Min Yeo 21-8, 21-15 and take India to the final.
At the Gold Coast Hockey Centre, the Indian women’s hockey team rallied to beat England 2-1 for their second win in three matches. In a superb performance, Rani Rampal’s team fought back from conceding an early goal in the 35th second with Navneet Kaur scoring the equaliser the 41st minute off a superb pass from Rani, and six minutes later it was Gurjit Kaur who interjected the ball into the nets for the defining goal of the match.
There was disappointment from the Currumbin Beachfront, however, where India’s Manish Rawat was disqualified from the men’s 20km race walk as per Rule IAFF 125.5 which stands for a clear and deliberate obstruction. Manish had finished an impressive sixth in the 20km race, while Irfan Kolothum Thandi was 13th. In the women’s 20km race walk, Khushbir Kaur finished fourth and Soumya Baby was also disqualified.
In the men’s 100m butterfly, swimmer Sajan Prakash came in second in Heat 3 at the Optus Aquatic Centre.
In the women’s skeet qualification, Saniya Sheikh finished second with a score of 71+2 to become just the second Indian woman into a skeet final at the CWG after Arti Rao four years ago. Her fellow Indian Maheshwari Chauhan ended at eighth place in qualification. In the men’s skeet qualification, neither of India’s shooters could progress. Sheeraj Sheikh finished seventh and Smit Singh 11th out of 15 competitors.
In boxing, India’s Vikas Krishan opened his campaign defeating Campbell Somerville to enter men’s 75kg pre-quarters.