Chess team gives India gold in Asian Indoor Games

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Macau, Oct 27: India opened their account with a gold medal after the quartet of Krishnan Sasikiran, Surya Sekhar Ganguly, Koneru Humpy and Dronavalli Harika won the yellow metal in the Rapid Chess team event in the second Asian Indoor Games here today.

The Indian team won all their six round robin ties -- four yesterday and two today -- to grab the gold in the mixed competition which features two men and two women in all teams. Vietnam took silver and Iran won bronze while top seeds China failed to finish on podium.

Seeded second behind China, the Indian quartet steamrolled lowly Pakistan 4-0 in the first match yesterday with all the four winning their matches.

India then beat Philippines 3-1 in the second match but after a minor hiccup with Humpy unexpectedly losing to Perena Catherine.

The third match against third seed Vietnam was tougher with Ganguly losing to Nguyen Truong Son and Harika drawing with Nguyen Thi Thanh though India won 2.5-1.5.

But, the upset win over China (2.5-1.5) in the fourth match yesterday took India nearer to gold. The Indians though began on a gloomy note with Sashikiran losing to Bu Xiangzhi but Ganguly restored parity in the second match with a fine win over Wang Ho. It was still cliffhanger after Humpy drew with Hou Yifan and the tie was settled in the last match in India's favour with Harika beating Ruan Lufei.

Today, India defeated fourth seeds Kazakhstan 2.5-1.5 in the first match with Sashikiran and Humpy scoring victories while Ganguly losing his match and Harika settling for a draw.

Indonesia did not create much problem in the second match today and India romped home with a 3.5-0.5 win. Ganguly drew with Wahjuwidajat Utut Adianto while all his three compratiots winning their matches.

India had also won gold in the chess team event at Doha Asian Games in December last year. Sasikiran and Humpy have been part of that team also.

Indians are also expected to finish in the podium in the individual competitions of both men and women's sections here.

India are fielding a 148-member Indian contingent, including 118 athletes, in 13 out of the 15 disciplines in the nine-day-long Games which began yesterday.

Triple jumper Renjith Maheswary and women's metric miler Sinimole Paulose will spearhead the Indian campaign in athletics which begins on October 30.

The Government cleared 97 of the 118 athletes in nine approved disciplines of athletics, tenpin bowling, chess, kabaddi, muay, swimming, hoop, sepak takraw (women) and hockey (men).

Indian Olympic Association (IOA) will bear the cost for the athletes not cleared by the governemnt in the four disciplines of aerobic gymnastics, dance sport, e-sport and sports climbing.

UNI

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