‘Golden Girl’ Vinesh sparkles for India

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 21 Aug 2018 08:20:54




Shooters Deepak, Lakshay add silver

VINESH Phogat expectedly delivered a historic wrestling gold, the shooters picked up momentum with a couple of silver medals and an unexpected podium finish was assured in sepak takraw on a fairly good day for India at the 18th Asian Games.

Adding to the cheer was the defending gold-medallist men’s hockey team’s 17-0 hammering of hosts Indonesia in its pool A lung-opener. There were disappointments too with an Olympic-medallist, wrestler Sakshi Malik, finishing without a medal for the second day running, seven-time gold-winner men’s kabaddi team losing for the first time in its Games’ history and both the men’s and women’s badminton teams getting knocked out of medal hunt.

However, there was plenty to celebrate with Vinesh’s gold being the biggest reason of them all. It was India’s first gold since women’s wrestling was introduced in the Games in 2002 Busan edition. The Haryana-grappler, who will turn 24 this Saturday, gave herself an early birthday present with a performance that was all style, brushing aside her rivals with remarkable ease in the 50kg category.

“I had targeted gold. I had 3-4 silvers at the Asian level and I was determined to win a gold today. My body responded well because I had trained well and God was also kind. So everything mixed up well for me today,” a teary-eyed Vinesh said after the triumph. However, Rio Olympic medallist Sakshi Malik, competing in her first Asian Games, and Pooja Dhanda lost their bronze medal bouts tamely.

In the men’s freestyle 125kg, Sumit Malik also lost his bronze medal bout, leaving India with just one medal from wrestling. Pinki was the only girl not to reach the medal round as she lost her first round bout in the 53kg category against Mongolia’s Sumiya Erdenechimeg. She could not score a single point and lost her bout by technical superiority.

At the shooting ranges of Palembang, Deepak Kumar (10m air rifle) and Lakshay Sheoran (men’s trap) added the silver touch, while the men’s sepak takraw team created a flutter by advancing to the semi-finals away from the spotlight. It was a case of breakthrough medals for both Deepak and Lakshay, shooters with contrasting career paths.
The thirty-three years-old Deepak did not mind the long wait for a major medal, fourteen years after he picked up the sport.