Gold Coast : From the boxing ring to the shooting range to the athletics arena, it was India shining on the penultimate day of the 21st Commonwealth Games where the country claimed its biggest single-day haul of the ongoing edition, ensnaring eight gold medals across five disciplines.
The boxers picked up three, the shooters added one, the wrestlers claimed a couple, while the paddlers and the track-and-field contingent picked up one each on a truly golden day for the country, which also yielded five silver and one bronze medal.
Neeraj Chopra and Manika Batra clinched India’s first-ever gold medals in men’s javelin throw and women’s singles table tennis respectively while boxers Vikas Krishan, M.C. Mary Kom and Gaurav Solanki claimed top podium finishes. Golden wrestlers Vinesh Phogat and Sumit Kumar and shooter Sanjeev Rajput took third-placed India’s tally to 59 medals (25 gold, 16 silver, 18 bronze) at the end of Day 10 on Saturday.
It all started at the shooting ranges in Brisbane, where Sanjeev Rajput shattered the Games’ qualifying record before finishing on top in the 50m rifle 3 position final. He had won a bronze (2006) and a silver (2014) in the earlier editions.
The wrestlers were at it at the Carrara Sports and Leisure Center. Sumit (125kg) and Vinesh Phogat (50kg) picked up the top honours in their respective categories even as Olympic bronze-medallist Sakshi Malik (62kg) settled for a third-place finish, along with Somveer (86kg).
At the boxing arena of the Oxenford Studios, M C Mary Kom (48kg) was joined by Vikas Krishan (75kg) and Gaurav Solanki (52kg) in scripting history. The boxers, led by three, finished with nine medals in all, their best ever performance, two better than the previous best attained at 2010 Delhi Games.
While Mary Kom became the first Indian woman boxer to claim a CWG gold, Vikas became the first to have gold in both the Asian and Commonwealth Games.
In the afternoon, Neeraj Chopra wrote his own little piece of history at the Carrara stadium when he became the first Indian javelin thrower to claim a gold medal. His gold was only the fifth for India in track and field.
The 20-year-old destroyed competition with his very first throw of 85.50m before taking it a notch higher with a season’s best effort of 86.47m. None in the field came close to his performance even though he himself seemed a shade disappointed on missing a personal best by “just one centimetre”.
Good news poured in from the TT venue of the Oxenford Studios where Manika Batra, in perhaps the form of her life, became the first woman paddler to claim a gold medal.
Not to forget the silver-medallists, three of them coming from boxing in Manish Kaushik (60kg), Amit Panghal (49kg) and Satish Kumar.
Dipika Pallikal and Sourav Ghosal picked up the mixed doubles squash silver, while Sanil Shetty and Harmeet Desai claimed the second position in table tennis men’s doubles. The lone bronze of the day was delivered by shuttlers N Sikki Reddy and Ashwini Ponnappa.
The disappointments of the day were the two hockey teams, both of whom failed to secure medals, ending fourth after losing to England in their respective bronze-medal playoffs.
It was an especially disappointing performance by the men, who had returned with silver medals in the past two editions