Indian boxers, shuttlers cover themselves in glory

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Pune, Oct 17 (UNI) Indian boxers today covered themselves in glory bagging three golds and a silver on the last day of the boxing events in the sixth day of the third edition of the Commonwealth Youth Games being held at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports City here today.

India had yet another fruitful day at the Games with the hosts dominating the badminton court, annexing three of the four gold medals on offer in the men's and women's singles and women's doubles. The hosts also bagged the men's and women's singles silver medals as well as the men's doubles bronze medal for a rich haul of three golds, two silvers and a bronze for a total of six medals.

Ace shuttler Saina Nehwal rallied back to brush aside a spirited challenge from her Indian rival Sikki Reddy to win the Gold medal, while in the men's singles top seed Guru Sai Dutt endured a tough challenge from his country mate Aditya Prakash before prevailing in a tough three setter at 21-18, 20-22, 21-18. Martin Campbell of Scotland won the bronze medal.

Trailing by a 3-4-point margin in both the games, Saina battled her way into the match and secured a 2-0 (23-21, 22-20) win over Sikki who grabbed the silver.

The bronze medal in the girls' singles went to Panuga Riou of England who beat Malaysia's Tiffany Currier Chase 2-1 (18-21, 21-16, 21-16).

''I think she played exceedingly well today. I expected a good fight and she really made me work hard,'' Saina told about Sikki after the match.

Manipur's Thokchom Nanao Singh, silver medalist in the senior Commonwealth Championship at Liverpool in England last year, led India's charge in the boxing ring giving the hosts their first gold with a rousing 25-10 points victory over his Wales rival Davies Zack in the light fly weight category in what could be termed as the best of the eight finals.

Nanao Singh's sterling display was followed by Virothu Shantosh, who gave no quarters to his South African rival Alexander Jonker, after jumping into a 6-2 lead to eventually emerge as a deserving winner by a 16-4 margin in the 64kg light welter weight class for the second gold medal.

In the closest fight of the day, Balwinder Beniwal, cousin brother of Olympic bronze medalist Vijendra Kumar, after being tied up on two points each at the end of the fourth round against Shamoon Benjamin, secured the third gold for India on the basis of a technical decision being given in his favour.

Beniwal, by virtue of being more aggressive and attacking, saw the gold medal coming his way.

In the last bout of the day in the 75kg middle weight group, Satwinder Singh appeared all at sea while going down tamely to Twardzik Start of Canada. The fact that he failed to secure even a single point, against five points won by his opponent, tells its own story.

In the swimming arena, Virdhawal Khade bagged his third gold of the games when he won the 50 meter freestyle for men with a new games record to boot and Aaron D'souza also showed that there are other good swimmers in India bagging the bronze medal in the men's 200m butterfly event.

In fact, Aaron was in the second position till the first 100m, before he was pushed out of silver medal contention by Dan Vickers of England and had to be contend with the bronze medal. Lachlan Staples of Australia picked up the gold winning the event with a games record time of 1:58.67 seconds. Dan won the silver with a time of 2:01.88 seconds, while Aaron got the bronze in a time of 2:03.43 seconds.

Virdhawal, however, continued to make merry in the pool as he bagged his sixth medal at the games - three golds and three silvers - when he beat the challenge of Australian Thomas Barrett in 50 meter freestyle. He won the race in a record time of 22.68 seconds.

Conor Leaney of Northern Ireland was placed third to bag the bronze.

In tennis, India had a mixed day with Yuki Bhamri having to retire during his semifinal match against Finbar Tearney of New Zealand after being down 2-6, 1-4.

Kyra Shroff bagged two silver medals in the women's singles where she lost to Heather Watson of Guernsey, while in the doubles pairing with Venkatesha Poojashree lost to Monika Wejnert and Jade Hooper of Australia in a three setter.

The men's doubles pair of Yuki Bhamri and Vijayant Malik also won a silver going down to the Kiwi pairing of Logan Mackenzie and Finbar Tearney in straight sets.

Indians also had to rest content with silver medals from the weightlifting arena with Srishti Singh in the women's 69 kg category and Harbhajan Singh in the men's 89 kg category finishing second.

Mary Opeloge from Samoa in the women's 69 kg category and Mathieu Marineau from Canada in the men's 89 kg category bagged the gold medals respectively.

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