Indian shooters continue fine show, Samresh on verge of history
Melbourne, Mar 21: Indian shooters continued to make ripples in the Commonwealth Games with Samresh Jung on the verge of becoming the highest gold medal winner in the history of the Games after he won his fourth gold today, while Seema Antil did the country proud by winning silver in discus throw and the puglists are set to win at least two medals.
Samresh added another gold adding to his burgeoning three, besides one silver, winning the 50m Pistol event (650.2 points), while compatriot Gagan Narang, who has already won two gold, set up a new Games record, winning the 10m Air Rifle event.
The 36-year-old CISF personnel, Samresh, is till to participate in three more events and on current form the Indian looks unstoppable.
Abhinav Bindra added another medal winning bronze in the 10m Rifle, taking India's shooting tally to a whopping 11 gold, four silver and a bronze, an indication of dominance of Indian gunners in the shooting ranges.
Earlier, Samresh won gold in 25m Standard Pistol Pair, 25m Centre Fire Pistol Pair, 10m Air Pistol Pair and in 50m Pistol score, besides picking up a silver in 50m Pistol Pairs with Vivek Singh in last five days.
However, Samresh could not break Gault's Games record, which stands at 657.5.
Gagan bettered the four year old Games record of 681.9 set by Asif Hossain Khan of Bangladesh by a huge margin of seven points.
Gagan has won three golds in 10m Rifles Pairs and individual and 50m Rifle three position pairs with Abhinav in the competition.
In the men's trap event, India's Manavjit Sandhu was tied at the top with Australian Michael Diamond with an identical score of 49 at the end of the first day's match, while other Indian veteran shooter Mansher Singh was lying joint seventh in a field of 41 shooters.
However, Indian women shooters Sushma Rana and Saroja Kumari, tipped to win a medal failed and finished fourth and sixth respectively in the 25m pistol event, which was won by Australian Lalita Yauhleuskaya with a new Games record total of 781.5.
The day's honour was shared by underrated Seema Antil, heralding her arrival in the international arena with a stunning performance to win a surprise silver medal in women's discus throw in the athletics competition. The Haryana thrower's achievement was second such feat after Neelam Jaswant Singh won a silver in the Games four years ago.
Krishna Poonia with personal best of 58.65m and Harwant Kaur (57.64m) finished fifth and seventh.
In mens' discus throw, Vikas Gowda entered final with the fourth best throw overall in the qualifying rounds today. But, other athletes did not fare well with Manjit Kaur finishing seventh clocking 52.58s in 400m final Meanwhile in boxing, India are assured of two medals as Harpreet Singh and Verghese Johnson entered semifinals of the plus 91 super heavyweight and 91 kg heavyweight categories respectively.
Twenty four-year-old Verghese plundered Michel Patrick Camille of Seychelles in seven minutes before the bout wes declared RSC in the third round, while 26-year-old Harpreet Singh trounced Tawaka Cagiloaloa of Fiji in the quarterfinal.
However, another Indian boxer Ajay Kumar, lost to Kenya's Ndere Makonjio on points in the quarterfinals of 81 kg light heavyweight category.
As per rules, both the losing semifinalists get a bronze medal each as there is no playoff for the third place.
Meanwhile, Indian women hockey team, after virtually being written off following their dismal showing against Australia and South Africa, rose to the occasion and scripted an impressive 6-1 win against Malaysia and sailed into the semifinals securing a second place in Pool 'A' with seven points, behind Australia (12 points).
The defending champions forced 15 penalty corners, converting five into goals, underlying their superiority and dominance on the field.
New Zealand topped Pool 'B' with 12 points, followed by England with nine points.
However, their male counterparts are not sure of a place in the semifinals with their hopes resting on a big win against South Africa in their last league match tomorrow and hoping that Malaysia, who beat South Africa 2-1 today, does not win or draw against Pakistan.
The Indians drew against Malaysia, lost to arch rivals Pakistan 1-4 and conceded a crucial goal against the lowly Trinidad and Tobago in their 10-1 thrashing of the minnows.
Even a big victory against South Africa may not sort out India's problems as Malaysia and Pakistan will play after them ans Malaysia will according try not to concede too many goals even if they lose.
The South Africans will also be going with a game plan to win.
They are in the same position as India and if they win and Malaysia loses to Pakistan, they will be through.
Meanwhile, the Indian suttlers are on a high. After their creditable bronze medal winning performance in the mixed team event, they started their campaign in the open event with facile victories. National champion Anup Sridhar won a no-contest against Burty Molia of Fiji 21-7, 21-1 in just 17 minutes in first round.
Teenage prodigy Saina Nehwal demolished Karen Kune Foo of Mauritius 21-6, 21-3 in a match that lasted barely 13 minutes.
However, Olympian Aparna Popat had to wage a grim battle to put it across Scotland's Y Wemyss 21-18, 21-17.
The fourth Indian to make it to the next round was Trupti Murgunde, who took only 14 minutes to dispose off Bahamas's Slesha Shakeria Waithe 21-4, 21-9.
In table tennis open event also, Indians got off to a resounding start after yesterday's high with their men's team winning gold and the women claiming bronze, with seven of the eight players in action winning their qualifying rounds today.
Women players Nandita Saha, Mouma Das, Poulomi Ghatak, Kasturi Chakraborty, along with their men compatriots, Subhajit Saha, Soumyadeep Roy and Shibaji Dutta chalked out contrasting victories on their way to the second round.
The only Indian who lost in the qualifying round was Shamini Kumaresan who went down 3-4 to Nigeria's Ganiyat Ogundele in a bitterly fought seven-game match.
Meanwhile, all eyes will be on Anju Bobby George tomorrow as the Kerala long jumper tries to improve her bronze winning performance in last Commonwealth Games and win gold in the final scheduled for March 24.
Anju, the reigning Asian Games winner and third in World Athletics Championships in Paris in 2o03, is the highest ranked athlete in the event. She in now ranked fifth in the world, with a best jump of 6.83m in Athens Olympics where she finished sixth.