India at CWG: Three gold on Day 4; boxer Mary Kom reaches semifinals

AGENCIES NEW DELHI, 8th Apr: Day four of the 2018 Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast, Australia has seen two more gold medals for India in the shape of weightlifter Punam Yadav, who won gold in the women’s 69kg event; teenage shooting prodigy Manu Bhaker, who won the women’s 10m air pistol event; and women's table tennis team, who clinched the country’s third gold of the day; as well as a silver to the seasoned Heena Sidhu and bronze to shooter Ravi Kumar. Lifter Vikas Thakur added bonze in men's 94kg.
Lifting hopes of further gold medal success were boxing icon MC Mary Kom, who assured herself of a first CWG medal by winning her quarter-final bout. In other good news, the Indian women’s team beat England 2-1 to move to the top of Pool A.
Indian men's hockey team registered their first victory of the competition after defeating Wales 4-3 in their second Pool B match. India were held to 2-2 draw by arch-rivals Pakistan on Saturday.
Punam, 22, bettered the 63kg bronze she won at the 2014 Glasgow CGW by dominating the 69kg event at the Carrara Sports Club. The weightlifter from Uttar Pradesh finished with a combined effort of 122 (100 in snatch and 122 in clean and jerk) to take India’s overall medal tally at the Gold Coast Games to seven.
At her first CWG, 16-year-old Manu Bhaker put in a tremendous performance as he held her own against older and more experienced shooters, firing a total of 240.9 to take gold. Heena Sidhu stormed back from the face of elimination in stunning manner to claim silver with a total effort of 234. Bhaker had earlier shot a qualifying CWG record score of 388/400 in her first appearance at the quadrennial games.
India’s third gold in the day’s competition was claimed by the women's table tennis team who outplayed fancied Singapore 3-1 in the final. In shooting, Ravi claimed bronze in the men’s 10m air rifle event.
Thakur added a second Commonwealth Games medal to his name, extending India’s overall tally at the Gold Coast Games to 11. The 24-year-old from Ludhiana, who claimed silver (85kg) four years ago in Glasgow, finished with an overall effort of 351kg (159 in snatch and 192 in clean & jerk) to take home a bronze.
Mary Kom assured herself of a CWG medal after beating Scotland’s Megan Gordon in the women’s 45-48kg quarter-finals. The one medal missing from Mary’s cabinet is at the CWG - she has never participated at the quadrennial games - and she has now ensured herself one. Mary Kom started slowly, taking her time to gauge her opponent, although she did land a couple of solid blows.
The Manipuri legend landed a flurry of punches in the closing seconds of the opening round to force her opponent on to the ropes. Mary upped the ante in the second round, picking up the pace as she peppered Megan with powerful blows. The third and last round followed a similar script with Mary pummelling her opponent with quick combinations.
Megan fought bravely as she absorbed the punches and tried to hit back on the counter, but she was no match for the veteran Indian.
Vikas Krishan Vikas, meanwhile, entered the quarter-finals of the men's middleweight (75 kilogram) category with a hard fought victory over Campbell Somerville of Australia.
In the women’s team squash semi-finals against England, India bossed England 3-0 to enter the final. Manika Batra gave India a 1-0 lead by beating Kelly Sibley 9-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-7 and then Madhurika Patkar overcame Tin-Tin Ho 11-7, 13-11, 10-12, 11-9. Sealing India’s passage to the final was the pair of Patkar and Mouma Das who beat Sibley and Maria Tsaptsinos 11-7, 8-11, 11-7, 11-1.
In the badminton team semi-finals, India defeated Singapore 3-0 to also reach the final. Ashwini Ponnappa and Satwik Rankireddy gave India a 1-0 lead over Singapore with a 22-20, 21-18 win, followed by Kidambi Srikanth beating Keen Yew Lot 21-17, 21-14. In the men’s doubles, Satwik and Chirag Shetty were beaten 21-17, 19-21, 12-21 but Saina Nehwal delivered in her singles’ match to beat Jia Min Yeo 21-8, 21-15 and take India to the final.
At the Gold Coast Hockey Centre, the Indian women’s hockey team rallied to beat England 2-1 for their second win in three matches. In a superb performance, Rani Rampal’s team fought back from conceding an early goal in the 35th second with Navneet Kaur scoring the equaliser the 41st minute off a superb pass from Rani, and six minutes later it was Gurjit Kaur who interjected the ball into the nets for the defining goal of the match.

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