Commonwealth Games 2018: We're on top Down Under
India lifters Sivalingam and Ragala strike gold; Saina & Co in semis while boxers Sarita, Manoj Kumar and Hussamuddin in line for medal glory; men and women paddlers shine as well
Indian weightlifter Sathish Kumar Sivalingam exults after winning the 77kg gold in Gold Coast on Saturday. Pic/PTI
Undeterred by niggles and lack of proper physiotherapic care, Indian weightlifters delivered two more gold medals for the country on Saturday, while shuttlers and boxers remained unbeaten to make up for the hockey team's sloppy draw against Pakistan on Day 3 of the 21st Commonwealth Games.
India now have four gold, a silver and a bronze in the event, leaving them fourth on the overall tally. Hosts Australia top the charts with a whopping 57 medals — 20 gold, 17 silver and 20 bronze. India's two gold medals came through Sathish Sivalingam (77kg) and Venkat Rahul Ragala (85kg), both of whom were not 100 per cent fit owing to respective thigh and knee injuries but still managed to keep ahead of the competition.
India's Venkat Rahul Ragala celebrates his gold medal-winning 85kg class lift at Gold Coast on Saturday. Pic/AFP
Sathish, 25, the defending champion, lifted a total of 317kg (114kg+173kg) and was so ahead of competition that he forfeited his final clean and jerk lift. "I had no hopes of winning a medal after I injured my thighs during the national championships while attempting 194kg in clean and jerk. It's a quadriceps problem, even now I am competing at less than ideal fitness but I am glad that was enough to get me a gold," Sathish said.
Rahul, 21, who is a Commonwealth Championships gold-medallist, lifted a total of 338kg (151kg+187kg) to finish on top. "I had been weakened by a knee injury during the Commonwealth Championships last year. But the coaches supported me immensely to get this medal. I haven't been able to train that well," he said. Their performances despite fitness issues once again highlighted the desperate need for a physiotherapist in the competition area. The Indians bossed the badminton court as well and remained unbeaten en route confirming a semi-final berth. The team at the receiving end of the top seeds' ferocity was Mauritius, blanked 3-0 by Saina Nehwal and Co in yet another clinical takedown.
Saina Nehwal at Gold Coast
TT men, women rise
Indian paddlers continued their impressive run as they outshone Malaysia to cruise into the semi-finals of both men's and women' team events. In the men's quarter-final tie, Harmeet Desai started off with a comfortable 11-4, 12-10, 11-6 victory over Chee Feng Leong before star paddler Sharath Kamal gave India a 2-0 lead by thrashing Muhammad Ashraf Haiq 11-8 11-7 11-6.
The duo of Desai and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran then beat the pairing of Javen Choong and Chee Feng 11-7, 11-6, 11-7 to make it 3-0 in favour of the Indians. In the women's quarter-final tie, Manika Batra registered a comfortable 11-9, 11-7, 11-7 win over Ying Ho in the opening match. In the second singles match, Madhurika Patkar lost the opening game 7-11 against Karen Lyne, but fought back to win the next three games 11-9, 11-9, 11-3. Madhurika then paired with Mouma Das in the doubles to notch up a 11-8 10-12 11-8 11-7 win against the Malaysian duo of Ying Ho and Ai Xin Tee to wrap up the tie in style.
Boxers in fine form
The boxers' rampaging run also continued unabated as the veteran duo of L Sarita Devi (60kg) and Manoj Kumar (59kg) advanced to the quarterfinals along with Commonwealth Games debutant Mohd Hussamuddin (56kg).
Away from the spotlight, both the men's and women's table tennis teams entered the semi-finals. Both the teams were up against Malaysia in their respective ties and came out trumps with identical 3-0 margins.
- With inputs from PTI
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