Vikas Gowda wins India’s first athletics gold medal

Glasgow:  Vikas Gowda gave India its first athletics gold of the 20th Commonwealth Games by winning the men’s discuss throw event, while, olympics bronze medallist Yogeshwar Dutt and Babita Kumari breezed their way to gold medals as wrestlers signed off on a high, here.

While Yogeshwar (men’s 65kg freestyle) and Babita Kumari (women’s 55kg) won golds yesterday, Geetika Jhakar (women’s 63kg) failed to match her compatriots and managed a silver on the wrestling  mat for India.

Pawan Kumar also bagged a bronze in men’s 86kg freestyle wrestling to round off a fine show for the grapplers.

It was good news for in other disciplines as well as young Dipa Karmarkar scripted history by becoming the first Indian woman gymnast to win a medal at the Commonwealth Games by bagging a bronze in the vault event.

By virtue of two golds, one silver and two bronze medals, India have moved up to the fifth position in the medal standings with a total haul of 47 medals — 13 gold, 20 silver and 14 bronze.

England were at at the top of the chart with a total of 123 medals followed by Australia (113), Canada (65) and Scotland.

The Indians enjoyed a good outing on the final day of wrestling competition as Yogeshwar hardly broke sweat en route to his gold medal effort by using his trademark ‘fitele’ (leg-twisting) technique to great effect.

Yogeshwar first beat Alex Gladkov of Scotland 4-0 and then easily defeated another Scottish wrestler Gareth Jones in the quarterfinals by employing the same leg-twisting technique he had used while winning bronze in the London Olympics.

In the semifinals, Yogeshwar successfully used his favourite technique again to get the better of Sri Lanka’s Chamara Perera in just two minutes and three seconds.

Yogeshwar won with a 0-5 verdict after taking a 10-0 lead on technical points.

He continued his dominance in the final and made light work of his Canadian opponent Jevon Balfour to clinch the gold medal in just 1:53 seconds.

But it all started with Babita who completely dominated her gold medal bout against Brittanee Laverdure to seal the  contest 9-2 in her favour and give India its first yellow metal of the day.

However, it was some sort of disappointment for India in the women’s 63kg as Geetika was no match for her Canadian opponent Danielle Lappage. The world junior champion overpowered the Indian grappler 7-0 to pocket the gold with consummate ease.

The 31-year-old US-based Gowda, however, lit up the mood by pocketing the gold in men’s discuss throw with an effort of 63.64m, way below his personal best effort of 66.28m, under incessant rain at the Hampden Park.

The silver went to Apostolos Parellis of Cyprus who threw the discuss to 63.32m, while the bronze was bagged by Jason Morgan of Jamaica with an effort of 62.34m.

2010 Delhi Games gold medallist Benn Harradine of Australia finished fourth with a below-par effort of 61.91m.

The incessant rain did not help the athletes’ cause in any way as the throwers faced difficulty in gripping the discuss and were continuously seen rubbing the discuss with a towel.

Gowda, who won a silver in the 2010 Delhi Games, registered his best effort in his third attempt, which proved to be enough for him to ran away with the yellow metal.

But the 63.64m effort was way below his personal best as well as his season’s best effort of 65.62m.

Meanwhile, India’s Tintu Luka failed to qualify for the finals of the women’s 800m race after finishing seventh in the eight-contestant first semifinal.

Luka could only manage a timing of 2:03.35s to finish on the penultimate position in her semifinal round.

In the women’s discuss throw event, defending champion Krishna Poonia qualified for the final despite finishing 11th in the qualifying round with a best effort of 51.36m.

She began with two foul throws and that might have put her under pressure. Her final throw cleared 51.36m and that was enough for her to qualify for the final round. Most of the competitors struggled under inclement weather after incessant drizzle hit Hampden Park today.

Another Indian in fray, Seema Punia also made it to the final round after finishing second with a best throw of 58.44m.

Gold medal favourite Dani Samuels of Australia topped the qualifying round with a best throw of 64.53m.

Meanwhile, it was silver lining for India in gymnastics as 20-year-old Dipa collected 14.366 points to finish third in the women’s vault final at the SSE Hydro here.

The gold went to England’s Claudia Fragapane who got 14.633 points while Elsabeth Black was second with 14.433 points.

In the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games, Ashish Kumar became the first Indian gymnast to win a medal at the CWG by winning a silver in vault and bronze in floor events.

On the hockey turf, India produced a clinical performance to breeze past South Africa 5-2 to qualify for the semi-final.

Having finished second in the pool behind defending champions Australia, India will now take on New Zealand in the semi-final while the Kookaburras are pitted against England in the other last four clash.

Indian shuttlers too had a good day in office as P V Sindhu, Parupalli Kashyap, R M V Gurusaidutt and P C Thulasi all qualified for the quarterfinals in their respective events.

India’s top draw in women’s singles event, Sindhu made light work of her Sri Lankan opponent Thilini Hendahewa 21-14 21-14 in just 26  minutes to book her place in the last eight round.

Delhi Games bronze medallist, Kashyap took just 24 minutes to get the better of Jeff Tho of Australia 21-7 21-8 in the men’s singles, while Thulasi thrashed Rachel Honderich of Canada 21-12 21-7 in a 31-minute women’s singles match.

Gurusaidutt also notched up an easy 21-13 21-9 win over Andrew D’Souza of Canada in a men’s singles match that lasted 27 minutes at the Emirates Arena here.

World No. 22 Kashyap will now take on Daren Liew, ranked 47th. Guru will face World No. 18 and top seed Chong Wei Feng of Malaysia, while Thulasi will be up against World No. 33 Jing Yi Tee.

Sindhu will face Anna Rankin of New Zealand in the quarterfinals tomorrow.

Among other Indian shuttlers, Kidambi Srikanth also entered the quarterfinals of the men’s singles event after registering a hard-fought 20-22 21-16 21-12 win over Sri Lanka’s Niluka Karunaratne.

Srikanth will face Derek Wong in the quarterfinals tomorrow.

Reigning women’s doubles gold medallist pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa also made it to the quarterfinals after beating Australian combination of He Tian Tang and Renuga Veeran 18-21 21-10 21-6 in a keenly-contested 41-minute duel.

However, it was curtains for men’s doubles pair of Pranaav Chopra and Akshay Dewalkar as they went down tamely 13-21 14-21 to Malaysian duo of Wee Kioong Tan and Wei Shem Goh.

However, it turned out to be mixed results for Indian paddlers today.

While ace paddler Achanta Sharath Kamal and Anthony Amalraj marched into the men’s doubles semifinals, Kamal and Shamini Kumaresan experienced a bitter loss against Reed and Kelly Sibley in the mixed doubles quarterfinals.

Kamal, who put up a disappointing show in India’s poor team championship campaign, remains in the medal hunt with a convincing win over England’s Danny Reed and Sam Walker 12-10 11-6 7-11 11-8 in the quarterfinals held at the Scotstoun Sports Campus.

In the mixed doubles, Kamal and Shamini fought back well  after losing the plot early but eventually went down 7-11 9-11 11-5 14-12 4-11.

Soumyajit Ghosh and Harmeet Desai also lost 12-10 11-9 11-8 11-8 against the mighty Singapore pairing of Gao Ning and Li Hu in another men’s doubles quarterfinal.

Earlier today, rising Indian table tennis player Manika Batra fought her way into the women’s singles quarterfinals.

Batra, the 19-year-old from Delhi, recovered from a two game deficit to beat Canadian teenager Anqi Luo 11-13 11-7 8-11 11-2 11-7 11-9 at the Scotstoun Sports Campus.

The 159th-ranked Indian meets World No.41 Ye Lin of Singapore in the quarterfinals later today.

Indian squash players Dipika Pallikal and Joshana Chinappa also will feel contended with their perfromances today as the duo sailed into the women’s doubles semifinals.

The fifth seeds got the better of sixth seeds Joelle King and Amanda Landers-Murphy from New Zealand, 11-9 11-5, in their quarterfinal.

They are now a win away from assuring India’s first squash medal at the Commonwealth Games.

Free Press Journal