Yogeshwar provides golden touch, India in top-10

RSTV Bureau

Khushbir Kaur after standing 2nd in 20 km race

Star wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt notched up India’s fourth gold medal, while Khushbir Kaur became the first woman from the country to win a medal in 20km Race Walking by clinching silver as India shot up to eighth in overall standings on the ninth day of competitions in the 17th Asian Games on Sunday.

Besides, tennis players accounted for three bronze medals through Yuki Bhambri (men’s singles and men’s doubles with Divij Sharan) and Sania Mirza and Prarthana Thombare (women’s doubles). Middle-distance runner M R Poovamma won a bronze in the women’s 400m race.

It was yet another joyful day for the Indian contingent after yesterday’s rich haul of 10 medals and have now broken into the top 10 for the first time since the multi-discipline extravaganza began on September 19.

With the addition of six more medals today, India were placed eighth in the table with a collection of four gold, five silver and 24 bronze. China continued to maintain their supremacy with a tally of 207 (101-61-45), followed by South Korea (41-45-44) and Japan (32-44-44).

Medals won today aside, India can look forward to rich haul in the coming days as well with the women boxers assured of medals in all three weight categories. The men’s doubles tennis team of Sanam Singh and Saketh Myneni also assured themselves of at least silver by advancing to the final.

Yogeshwar was star performer of the day as he better his 2006 edition bronze in style with a couple of splendid bouts. The Olympic bronze-medallist was trailing all through in his semifinal bout before coming good in the last few seconds to enter the final.

In the summit clash, Yogeshwar defeated Zalimkhan Yusupov of Tajikistan to expectedly pick the gold.

Earlier, Khushbir Kaur provided the early spark by becoming the first Indian woman to win a medal in race walking in the Asian Games as she clinched silver in 20km event.

The 21-year-old from Amritsar clocked 1:33:07 to finish behind Lu Xiuzhi of China, who won the gold in 1:31:06, at the Marathon Course.

The Indian, who holds the national record of 1:31:40, was consistently third till the 18km mark before going up a position in the final two kilometres, thanks largely to the slowing down of second-placed Chinese Nie Jingjing, who eventually finished fourth.

In tennis, Yuki clinched India’s lone singles’ medal settling for a bronze in the men’s event after unforced errors cost him the semifinal clash against Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka. A profligate Yuki lost the match 6-3 2-6 1-6 in one hour and 46 minutes.

The Indian pair of Sania Mirza and Prarthana Thombare also settled for a bronze after losing their women’s doubles semifinal to Chinese Taipei’s Chin Wei Chan and Su Wei Hsiehin.

However, it was an all-win outing for the country’s women boxers. Olympic bronze-medallist M C Mary Kom led the charge as Indian women assured themselves of medals in each of the three weight categories.

Mary Kom (51kg), L Sarita Devi (60kg) and Pooja Rani (75kg) entered the semifinals of their respective weight categories with commanding victories.