Jakarta: A dominating Bajrang Punia opened India’s gold medal account at the Asian Games, bringing smiles and relief to the Indian camp which was jolted by the early exit of star wrestler Sushil Kumar here on Sunday. “I dedicate this gold medal to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who passed away recently,” Bajrang said.
“Yogi bhai (Olympic medallist Yogeshwar Dutt) told me ‘I did it in 2014, you have to do it in 2018’. When he (Yogeshwar) won, it was huge gap in his and the previous Asiad medal. I wanted to continue with medal,” he added. Bajrang emulated his mentor Yogeshwar Dutt, who won gold in the last edition, and is now one of the few Asiad gold medal winners in wrestling.
An in-form Bajrang won his maiden Asian Games gold in the 65kg category. Bajrang came into the Games after winning three tournaments – Commonwealth Games, Tbilisi Grand Prix and Yasar Dogu International – and carried on with his superlative show here. Such was his domination that the 24-year-old from Haryana won all his bouts, till the final, by technical superiority.
Pawan Kumar lost his 86kg weight category bronze medal bout to Mongolia’s Orgodol Uitumen.
6-minute exit fading Sushil’s last outing?
Two time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar’s tryst with Asian Games lasted barely six minutes as his hopes of winning at the Asian Games wrestling yellow metal went up in smoke on Sunday when he lost to Bahrain’s Adam Batirov 3-5 in the first round of the 74 Kg category.
A half-fit Sushil, carrying injury, should not have made it to Jakarta. The usual swag was missing and his walk up to Mat B for the opening bout said it all. However, the 35-year-old, who won a bronze and a silver respectively in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, said he was determined to make a strong comeback.
Meanwhile, there were murmurs that Sushil might have played his last multi-sporting event. A source in the WFI said Sushil may not be picked for World Championship and there is a possibility that he himself makes way for some other wrestler in this category.
Chandela, Kumar’s ‘Tense’ final
Apurvi Chandela and Ravi Kumar, who opened the medal tally for India at the 18th Asian Games, were part of a tense final as the top three places kept alternating between Chinese Taipei, Korea, India and China.
This was a first-time event at the Asian Games, but the field was by no means inexperienced. But Kumar and Chandela were steady throughout the final, maintaining their spot in the top three to ensure a medal.
They were in silver-medal position, but their last four combined shots had only one 10 and the World Cup gold medal-winning Chinese duo pipped them to silver.
India blank Maldives 3-0 in badminton
The Indian badminton team, led by Kidambi Srikanth, made a resounding start to its campaign at the 18th Asian Games, thrashing minnows Maldives 3-0 in the opening match of the team competition here on Monday. The Indian men’s team will next face hosts Indonesia on Monday in the quarterfinals. The women’s team, led by Olympic silver medallist P V Sindhu, will play formidable Japan in the quarterfinals after receiving a bye in the opening round.
Defending champs India make winning start in kabaddi
The Indian kabaddi contingent made an impressive start to its campaign at the 18th Asian Games with the women’s team mauling Japan and the men’s side beating Bangladesh and Sri Lanka on Sunday. The men’s team outclassed Sri Lanka 44-28 in the second Group A match after opening its campaign with a 50-21 win over Bangladesh early in the day.
In another lop-sided encounter, the women’s team pulled off a dominating 43-12 win over Japan in its Group A opener. The women’s team will take on Thailand on Monday, while its men counterpart will lock horns with South Korea.
Hockey: Indian women rout Indonesia 8-0 in opener
Drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur scored a hat-trick as the Indian women’s hockey team thrashed lowly Indonesia 8-0 on Sunday. The Indian side, ranked highest in the competition at ninth, completely dominated the Pool B match against home team.
MP’s Anjul misses bronze by 0.04 points
Bhopal: MP’s Anjul Namdeo missed out on a wushu bronze by sheer 0.04 points in the men’s changquan event. Namdeo finished fifth with 9.66 points. The gold medal was clinched by China’s Sun Peiyuan who scored 9.72 points.
Shooters Manu and Abhishek fail to qualify for finals
Indian Shooters Manu Bhakar and Abhishek Verma on Sunday failed to qualify for the finals of the 10-met er air pistol mixed team event in the 18th Asian Games. The Indian pair did not qualify, after remaining on the sixth position. China topped the group by scoring 769 points.
(With inputs from PTI)