New Delhi: Farmer’s son Neeraj Chopra harvested another record-smashing gold in the javelin throw as India’s track-and-field athletes delivered a clutch of medals, while badminton ace PV Sindhu advanced to a historic final on a brilliant day for India at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta on Monday.
India ended Day 9 of the competition with 8 gold, 13 silver, and 20 bronze medals. They are in the ninth position with 41 medals.
Considered the biggest star in Indian athletics right now, junior world champion Neeraj delivered on the massive expectations in style, throwing the spear to a brand new personal best of 88.06m and leaving the field behind by quite a distance.
Joining him in the record books was PV Sindhu, who became the first shuttler to make the Asian Games badminton singles final. She defeated Akane Yamaguchi 21-17, 15-21, 21-10 for her second win over the Japanese at the Asian Games, having beaten her in the team championship as well.
Sindhu will now fight it out with Tai Tzu-Ying to claim India’s first ever individual gold in badminton. Tai ended Saina’s run in the semi-finals on Monday, which fetched the seasoned Indian her maiden Asiad bronze.
“I have a strategy in place for her. It should be a good match,” said World Number 3 Sindhu, who has not beaten Tai in their last five meetings.
The Indian men’s table tennis team also did almost the unthinkable by beating fancied Japan 3-1 in the quarter-finals to assure the country their first-ever medal in table tennis in the history of the Asian Games.
Word number 33, Sharath, blanked world number 19 Kenta Matsudaira 11-8, 12-10, 11-8 in the only singles he needed to play on Day 9 of the competition.
Rising star G Sathiyan ranked 39, delivered on the big stage, winning both his singles against 28th ranked Jin Ueda and Matsudaira.
There was plenty of silver to celebrate as well, all of it coming from the athletics arena. Sudha Singh (women’s 300m steeplechase), Neena Varakil (women’s long jump) and Dharun Ayyasamy (men’s 400m hurdles) came second in their respective events.
However, Commonwealth Games bronze-winner Mohammed Husammuddin (56kg) lost a close contest against Kyrgyzstan’s Enkh-Amar Kharkhuu to bow out of the competition in the pre-quarterfinal stage.
The squash players also made a winning start in the team events. The men beat Indonesia 3-0 in the morning before overwhelming Singapore by the same margin. The women, who had only one match, defeated Iran 3-0.
However, cycling and karate did not throw up good results for India.
In cycling, both the men’s and women’s sprint and pursuit teams failed to qualify for the final rounds. In the team sprint events, the two teams finished seventh in the qualification round out of eight participants.
India did not have a single winner in the karate competition.
In volleyball, the Indian women’s team ended their campaign after losing 0-3 to China in the last Pool B match. In a 67-minute match, India lost 18-25, 19-25, 9-25 to China, who remained unbeaten in the pool stage.
Already out of the reckoning, the Indian men’s speaktakraw team ended their campaign on a positive note, beating Nepal 2-0 in their last group B match.