Asian Games: 17-year-old Neha Thakur From Land-locked M.P. Bags Silver; Eabad Ali Claims Bronze In Sailing - Eastern Mirror
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Asian Games: 17-year-old Neha Thakur from land-locked M.P. bags silver; Eabad Ali claims bronze in sailing

By IANS Updated: Sep 26, 2023 5:59 pm
Asian Games
Photo: IANS

HANGZHOU — Little-known Neha Thakur, a 17-year-old from the land-locked Madhya Pradesh, on Tuesday, claimed a silver medal and Armyman Eabad Ali picked up a bronze as the Indian sailors kept up the Indian medal hunt in the Asian Games in Hangzhou on Tuesday.

Neha, the daughter of a farmer from Amaltaj village in Dewas district of Madhya Pradesh, opened India’s account in the sailing competitions of the 19th Asian Games with a silver medal in the Girls’ Dinghy — ILCA4 at the Ningbo Xiangshan Sailing Centre in Ningbo, around 155 km away from Hangzhou near here on Tuesday.

Eabad then made the day more memorable as he brought in the bronze medal in the Men’s Windsurfer RS:X – RS event.

The two medals on Tuesday seem to have set the Yachting Association of India on course for a rich haul in the Hangzhou Asian Games as YAI is expecting at least three more medals on the final day of competitions on Wednesday.

That would improve India’s performance in the 2018 edition of the games when it won a silver and two bronze medals.

Neha Thakur provided the perfect start to the Indian medal hunt as she came up with a fantastic sailing over the last three days to finish on a high note.

Neha, a 12th-pass student who started sailing at the National Sailing School Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh at a very early age, finished second behind Noppassorn Khunboonjan of Thailand after 11 races in this category.

At the end of the 10th race, Neha had a net score (penalty points) of 23 as compared to 14 by the Thai sailor. Jaekyoung Seol of the Republic of Korea had a net score of 27 and was in third place.

In the 11th race on Tuesday, Neha finished fourth and bagged 4 race points while the Thai managed to finish second behind Singapore’s Keira Marie Carlyle. Korea’s Seol came third in the 11th race but her gains were not enough to overtake Neha to the second position.

Neha, who was born at Amaltaj village in Dewas district of Madhya Pradesh comes from a middle-class family. Her father Mukesh Kumar Thakur is a farmer while her mother Reena Thakur is a housewife.

Last year, Neha won a bronze medal at the Asian Sailing Championships in Abu Dhabi and qualified for the Asian Games.

Neha took to sailing at a very young age and was identified and groomed by the National Sailing School Bhopal.

“She sailed fantastically throughout and won her first medal for the country in the Asian Games,” said Capt. Jitendra Dixit, secretary general, Yachting Federation of India.

He said Neha caught the attention of YAI a couple of years back when she did well in the national circuit. “We picked her up from there and provided her further training. She has been training in Europe and participating in sailing events abroad, but this is her first medal of this nature,” he said.

Ebad Ali was under pressure on the final day of the competition as he had performed well in the 14th and final race to bag India’s first medal in windsurfing.

He did just that by finishing second in the 14th race on Tuesday and claimed two points that helped him claim the bronze medal. he finished behind Wonwoo Cho of the Republic of Korea and Natthaphong Phonoppharat of Thailand, who retired from the 14th race but had done enough in the previous 13 that Eabad could not overtake him on Tuesday.

The 29-year-old Ebad bagged a bronze in the Asian Championships in Abu Dhabi in 2022, which got him a berth in the Asian Games. He had come determined to do well in Hangzhou but things had not gone well initially as he did not finish three races — the DNF saddling him with 21 penalty points in all.

But Eabad Alsi persevered and kept at it, and eventually finished with 52 penalty points. Cho of Korea had just 13 while Phonoppharat from Thailand netted 31 points, getting him the silver medal.

Asian Games: India make history, claim first gold medal in Team Dressage

Asian Games
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HANGZHOU —  India made history in the Asian Games equestrian competitions, winning a gold medal in Dressage Prix St-Georges after a gap of four decades when the quartet of Sudipti Hajela, Divyakriti Singh, Hriday Chheda and Anush Agarwalla won the Team competition here on Tuesday.

The Indian team of Sudipti (up on Chinski), Divyakriti (Adrenalin Firfod), Hriday (Chemxpro Emerald) and Anush (on Etro) scored 209.206 percentage points to finish ahead of hosts China, who scored 204.882. Hong Kong China won the bronze medal with a score of 204.852.

This is India’s second medal in Team Dressage event in the Asian Games after the bronze won by the team of Jitendarjit Singh Ahluwalia, Ghulam Mohammed Khan and Raghubir Singh when the sport made its debut in the 1982 edition held in New Delhi. India’s all three gold medals came in the 1982 Asian Games in Individual Eventing, Team Eventing and Individual Tent Pegging, which has never been held since 1982.

Before Hangzhou, India had won 3 gold, 3 silver and 6 bronze medals in the Asian Games. In 2018, India won two silver medals in equestrian, both coming in Eventing with Fouaad Mirza finishing second in the Individual competition and then partnering Rakesh Kumar, Ashish Malik and Jitender Singh to silver in the Team event.

But the young combination of Sudipti Hajela, Divyakriti Singh, Hriday Chheda and Anush Agarwalla overcame all hurdles on Tuesday to make a historic achievement for Indian equestrian at Hangzhou.

In Dressage, the competition is to judge the coordination between the rider and the horse as they perform a series of predetermined movements, known as ‘figures’ or “movements” in an arena of either 20×60 metres. In all competitions, the horse has to show the three paces: walk, trot and canter as well as smooth transitions within and between 12 lettered markers placed symmetrically in the arena.

On Tuesday, the Indian riders and their horses performed this set of movements with the least number of penalty points, thus winning the gold medal.

Sudipti claimed a total score of 66.706, Divyakriti got 68.176, Hriday bagged 69.941 and Anush had a score of 71.088 as they finished ahead of the Chinese competitors to claim the top spot.

Asian Games: Ramita, Divyansh suffer heartbreak, lose bronze in 10m Air Rifle Mixed Team shooting

Asian Games
Photo: IANS

HANGZHOU — They needed just one point to seal a bronze medal but India’s Ramita Jindal and Divyansh Panwar could not win the match in four attempts in the 10m Air Rifle Mixed Team competitions, here on Tuesday.

The young Indian pair suffered a heartbreak defeat to a pair from the Republic of Korea in the bronze medal match in the 10m Air Rifle Mixed Team event in the Asian Games shooting competitions in Hangzhou on Tuesday.

“There was a little bit of pressure, there were ties also. Once the scores cross 16, anybody can win and it is a matter of luck. The start was good, so also in the middle. I had a few bad shots but Ramita was superb and she made up for those bad shots,” Divyansh said after the match.

Ramita and Divyansh had a handy lead in the initial as they won the first eight points. The Korean pair of Hajun Park and Eunseo Lee fought back to make it 7-9 for them. Ramita and Divyansh opened up a gap again at 11-9, 13-11 and 15-13 but could not go on and close it out.

The Koreans eventually pipped the Indians to the post, winning the match-off for third place 20-18 at the 10m shooting range at the Fuyang Yinhu Sports Centre.

The Indians lost the match by the narrowest margin 0.2 points and had to be satisfied for the fourth spot after they had fought through the qualifying to finish among the top six and qualify for one of the two bronze medal matches.

The Indian duo had taken an 8-0 lead by winning the first four series of two shots each in the two-shot duels. But the Koreans fought back and slowly crawled onto them and levelled scores at 15-15. At this stage, the Indians needed just one point to claim the medal as the first team to reach 16 points wins the match.

The two teams went neck-and-neck till 18-18 when the Koreans won the two-shot series 21.5 to 21.3 and grabbed two points which sealed their victory.

The 19-year-old Ramita, participating in only her second senior-level event, shot brilliantly, getting all 10+ scores. But two below-par shots by Divyansh — a 9.9 and 9.8 put paid to their chances as they lost the match-off and missed winning another medal for India in the Asian Games shooting competitions.

Ramita has already won two medals — a silver in the women’s 10m Air Rifle Team competition and a bronze in the 10m Air Rifle Individual event on Sunday while Divyansh Panwar helped the Men’s team bag the country’s first gold medal in the 10m Air Rifle Team competition on Monday.

The Chinese pair of Yuting Huang and Lihao Sheng defeated Uzbekistan’s Mukhtasar Tokhirova and Javokhir Sokhirov in the final to win the gold medal. Kazakhstan won the other bronze medal by beating Iran.

“I have played in so many finals and there was no pressure (when there were four ties before the end) because I have been into this kind of situation many times. It was not our day,” said Divyansh.

Also read: Asian Games: Rowers Arvind Singh, Arjun Lal Jat glide over hurdles to bag silver for India in Hangzhou

By IANS Updated: Sep 26, 2023 5:59:59 pm
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