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Kunjarani lifts India to glory, Vicky Batta settles for silver

Written by: Staff
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Melbourne, Mar 16 (UNI) A bespectacled, pintsize N Kunjarani Devi lifted the nation's hopes on her broad shoulders and fetched first gold for her country while fellow lifter Vicky Batta had to settle for a silver as India finished day one in the Commonwealth Games on satisfying note with two medals in their kitty.

However, defending champion India kicked off their women's hockey title defence with a 2-4 defeat against Australia.

Kunjarani Devi's gold was the highlight of the day as the 38-year old Manipuri retained her crown in the women's 48 kg category, lifting a total of 166 kg.

Kunjarani lifted 72kg in snatch and 94 kg in clean-and-jerk for the gold, even though she could not rewrite the Games record of 167 kg -- 75 kg in snatch and 92 kg in clean-and-jerk -- that stands in her name.

Though it was clearly not her best performance, the Deputy Superintendent with the Central Reserve Force, justified her billing as the pre-tournament favourite in a field of 11 lifters.

Kunjarani, however, had a worried start to her event as the weight slipped and she failed in her first attempt to lift 70 kg in snatch.

But the triple gold medal winner at Manchester Games never lost her composure and effortlessly lifted the weight in her second attempt before improving it with a lift of 72 kg in the third attempt.

She, however, could not improve upon her Games record of 75 kg in snatch. The Indian was given a good fight by Canada's Marilou Prevost Dozois who had lifts of 69 kg, then 71 kg and ended the snatch with 73 kg. Australian Erika Yamasaki was third with 69 kg.

Kunjarani thus pipped the Canadian to win the gold at 166 while Marilou had to be satisfied with silver with 165 and Australian Yamasaki was a distant third with 153.

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