India wins three gold; all from chess in Asian Indoor Games

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Macau, Oct 27 (UNI) India won three gold after sweeping rapid chess competition in the second Asian Indoor Games here today.

India opened their account with a gold fetched by the quartet of Krishnan Sasikiran, Surya Sekhar Ganguly, Koneru Humpy and Dronavalli Harika in the Rapid Chess team event after winning all their six round robin ties -- four yesterday and two today.

Vietnam took silver and Iran won bronze while top seeds China failed to finish on podium in the mixed competition which features two men and two women in all teams.

Later, Sasikiran and Harika added two more gold by emerging winners in men's and women's individual rapid chess competitions respectively.

China are leading the medal tally with 16 medals (7 gold, 5 silver and 4 bronze), followed by Japan with eight medals (3 gold, 3 silver, 2 bronze). India are third with the three gold.

In the chess team event, second seeds India steamrolled lowly Pakistan 4-0 in the first match yesterday. The quartet 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 top seeds China (2.5-1.5) in the fourth match yesterday took India nearer to gold. The Indians though began against the Chinese on a gloomy note with Sasikiran losing to Bu Xiangzhi.

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 before romping home 3.5-0.5 against Indonesia in the second match to pocket the gold.

Later, Sasikiran pocketed the yellow metal, getting the better of Qatar's Al-Medaihki Ahmed. Sasikiran needed two games to emerge victorious. The first game was drawn and the Indian won in the second.

The same pattern happened in case of Harika vs Paridar Shadi of Iran in the final match. The first game was drawn and Harika won the second to pocket the individual gold.

Sasikiran had beaten Nguyen Truong Son of Vietnam in the semi-finals while Harika had defeated Perena Catherine of Philippines in the last four round.

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 had 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) has agreed to 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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