Asian Games: Rowers Arvind Singh, Arjun Lal Jat Glide Over Hurdles To Bag Silver For India In Hangzhou - Eastern Mirror
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Asian Games: Rowers Arvind Singh, Arjun Lal Jat glide over hurdles to bag silver for India in Hangzhou

By IANS Updated: Sep 24, 2023 6:07 pm
Asian Games
Photo: IANS

HANGZHOU —  Excellence in sports is a byproduct of hard work and perseverance; sportspersons usually have to overcome many hurdles to succeed. Indian rowers Arvind Singh and Arjun Lal Jat are prime example of how hard work and perseverance pays in the end as they crossed two major hurdles to win a silver medal for India in the Asian Games here on Sunday.

Arvind Singh and Arjun Lal Jat finished second behind a Chinese pair in Men’s Lightweight Doubles Sculls at the Fuyang Water Sports Centre here in Hangzhou on Sunday to open India’s medal account at the Asian Games.

After the win, Arvind said, they could have won a gold medal but for an old injury that has hampered him in recent times.

Arvind and Arjun had reached the semifinals at the Tokyo Olympic Games and went into the competitions at the Asian Games with a lot of confidence, despite Arvind’s injury. They had to come through the repechage race to reach the semifinals. But once they cleared that hurdle, they were quite confident in the Final A.

Arvind thought they could have won the gold medal if he was not hampered by the severe lower back injury that had made things difficult till a few months back.

“Our aim was to win gold but because of my injury, I wasn’t able to push myself as much. Even during the trials, I was battling this injury.

“I went to Hyderabad to get treatment and the physio there really worked on getting me back in good shape. I resumed practice and only because of that have I been able to win this silver medal,” Arvind Singh said after the final.

The 27-year-old from Uttar Pradesh, who belongs to a family of farmers took to rowing after joining the Indian Army as a coach suggested him to try rowing considering his physique.

Arvind has since achieved a lot, winning gold in the 2022 Asian Rowing Championships in Lightweight Double Sculls, gold in the 2022 National Games in Gujarat, gold in the 2022 Senior National Rowing Championship in single sculls, gold in Asian Rowing Championships in 2021 in Thailand and a silver medal in the 2019 Asian Rowing Championships in South Korea.

He and Arjun Lal Jat had their crowning glory when they reached the semifinals in Lightweight Double Sculls in the Tokyo Olympic Games, eventually finishing 11th overall.

It was not the only hurdle the duo had to cross — they faced another major problem as they could not compete together for some time last year because Arjun Lal Jat had picked up weight after the Olympic Games in 2021 and they could not fulfil the weight requirement.

In Lightweight Double Sculls. both the rowers had to have a combined weight of 70kgs to participate. With Arjun gaining weight, they could not fulfil that criteria and Arvind Singh had to participate in Single Sculls in some competitions.

However, once Arjun Lal lost the extra flab and got into shape, they came together again as the coaches felt they presented India with a good chance of winning a medal at the Asian Games.

They finally fulfilled the dream of winning an Asian Games medal and will now be looking forward to excelling in the Qualifying regatta to clinch their place in the Paris 2024.

Asian Games: India’s chess stars start with wins as men’s World Champion Ding Liren pulls out

Asian Games
Photo: IANS

HANGZHOU — The Indian men’s and women’s players started the Individual competitions in the Asian Games Chess by winning their respective first-round matches at the Hangzhou Qi-Yuan (Zhili) Complex here on Sunday.

With the chess competitions being held in rapid format and with two rounds scheduled in men’s individual competition for the day, winning the first game comfortably bodes well for the players. On Sunday, Vidit Gujarathi, Arjun Erigaisi, Koneru Humpy and Dronavalli Harika won their respective matches to start their campaigns on a winning note.

In the men’s individual competition, India’s Vidit Gujarathi defeated Fahad Mohammad Rahwman of Bangladesh with black pieces and Arjun Erigaisi got the better of Paulo Bersamina of the Phillippines in the first round of the nine-round competition being played on the Swiss League format.

The competition was reduced to a 34-player field after China’s reigning classical world champion Ding Liren withdrew from the Individual competition as chess returned to the Asian Games for the first time after the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China. A couple of days back, Ding Liren was scheduled to play in a men’s individual competition along with Wei Yi. The official website of the Hangzhou Asian Games even published a report saying Ding Liren wants to win the Asian Games medal.

However, on Monday, Yi Wei along with Bu Xianzhi took the two spots reserved for China in the competition. While Yi Wei started with a win, Bu Xianzhi was held to a draw by Thailand’s Prin Laohawirapap.

In the women’s section, Koneru Humpy and Dronavalli Harika won their respective matches. Ranked third in the field led by China’s former World Champion Hou Yifan, Humpy defeated Iranian Woman Grandmaster Mohina Alinasabalamdari with white pieces.

Harika too started with a win as she defeated Rlouda Alali of the United Arab Emirates, who has a rating of 1915 as compared to Harika who is ranked 13th in the world with a rating of 2502 Elo.

The men will return in the evening to play the second round while the women will have their second round on Monday.

Asian Games: Ramita the star of the day with silver and bronze as Indian shooters start well in Hangzhou

Asian Games

HANGZHOU — A comparatively bad score of 9.9 on the 16th turn put paid to the hopes of young Indian shooter Ramita Jindal as the 19-year-old had to be satisfied with a bronze medal in the Women’s 10m Air Rifle Individual section at the 19th Asian Games shooting competition here on Sunday.

Ramita, who was sharing the second spot at that time slipped down and though she shot scores of 10.0, 10.5, 10.7, 10.8, 10.7, and 10.4 after that and managed to win the bronze medal with a score of 230.1. China’s Yuting Huang bagged the gold medal with an Asian Games record score of 252.7 while her compatriot Jiayu Han claimed the silver with a score of 251.3.

However, it was a good day for India as the shooters made a fine start by winning silver and bronze medals on the first day of competitions.

India started their quest for medals in the Asian Games shooting competition with young woman shooter Ramita playing the lead role in winning two medals — a silver in the Women’s 10m Air Rifle Team competition and a bronze in the 10m Air Rifle Individual section.

Ramita with teammates Mehuli Ghosh and Ashi Chouksey finished second behind China, who had a total of 1896.6 while Mongolia took the bronze medal with a score of 1880.0. China stormed to the gold medal with a total of 1896.6.

Ramita came up with the best score of 631.9, Mehuli had a score of 630.0 and Ashi tallied 623.3 points to bag the silver medal in the event.

The focus on the first morning was on the Women’s 10m Air Rifle Individual event as two Indians had finished among the top eight in the qualifying round. Ramita was placed second, sandwiched between the two Chinese while Mehuli was fifth with the Chinese taking three of the first four spots.

After the first five shots in the final, Ramita was third with 52.7 and Mehuli fourth with 52.3, but the two Chinese were on top with Han Jiyau leading with 53.2. After 10 shots, Ramita was tied with two others in the second while Mehuli was down to sixth as Huang took over the lead with 105.3.

As Chinese Taipei’s Chen Chi became the first to be eliminated after the 12th shot, Ramita and Mehuli were placed third and fourth with the Korean Lee Eunseo moving up to second behind Huang. The two Mongolians were next to bow out and after the 18th, Mehuli went into a shoot-off with Lee as Ramita held third spot behind the two Chinese.

Mehuli won the shoot-off with a 10.3 to Lee’s 10.1 and India were assured of a second shooting medal on the day. Thereafter, Ramita held on for third as Mehuli bowed out in fourth after the 20th shot. Ramita’s quest for silver was cut short by Han after the 22nd shot by a margin of just 0.3 points.

Ramita refused to blame the 9.9 score for her missing a chance to fight for the silver medal. 

“It is part of the game. You can’t think too much about one bad shot and rather focus on your one. I did just that after that bad shot and I am happy to win my first medal in the senior category,” said Ramita after her victory. She said she just did her regular process and focused on the next shot to recover.

She was very happy with her performance as it was her first medal at the senior level.

“It was the best result of my career, my first senior medal in shooting. I prepared very well, and I really enjoyed it. “I was 14 when I began. There are no other shooters in the family but I took it up because my father’s friend told me, ‘Have a try and see what happens’. So I started for fun and I really enjoyed it.”

Ramita, who took to shooting at the age of 14 when a friend of her father introduced the sport to her, said she will now focus on the upcoming Asian Championship where she will get a chance to win a quota place for Paris Olympics. Though the Baku World Cup last month was Ramita’s first international event at the senior level, the young shooter, who has won gold in the Junior World Championships for India, said she was very happy to have won two medals on the first day of competition.

Though the 19-year-old said she aimed to go for a medal in the Los Angeles Olympics but she will try to qualify for next year’s Olympic Games in Paris.

“I’m focusing on LA (the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games) on a long-term project but I am preparing for Paris also.”

The Men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol had its first qualification day on Sunday. India’s Anish was lying sixth and within the qualifying spot, after the precision round with a score of 292. Chinese world champion Li Yuehong was leading with a score of 296. Vijayveer Sidhu and Adarsh were further back with scores of 289 and 287 respectively.

The competition will continue on Monday with the second phase followed by the final.

Asian Games: Men enter quarterfinal in Table Tennis team competition, women crash out in Round of 16

Asian Games
Photo: IANS

HANGZHOU — It was a day of mixed fortunes for India in the Table Tennis Team competitions here on Sunday with the men qualifying for the quarterfinals with a narrow win over Kazakhstan while the women went down to Thailand in a Round of 16 clash at the Gongshu Canal Sports Park Gymnasium here.

The Indian men’s team came back after losing the first match to overcome Kazakhstan 3-2 in a pre-quarterfinal match while the women’s team went down to Thailand by the same margin.

Commonwealth Games men’s singles gold medallist Achanta Sharath Kamal came back strongly after losing the first match to win the fifth tie and seal victory for India.

Sharath had started the match on the wrong foot as he went down to Kiril Gerassimenko 8-11, 11-9, 6-11 and 8-11 in a 33-minute encounter. The Kazakh jumped into a six-point lead in the first game and went on to win the match as he established a five-point lead in the second and third games too.

Sathiyan Gnanasekaran pulled India level with a 14-12, 11-8, 11-4 win over Aidos Kenzhgulov before Harmeet Desai made it 2-1 for India with a 11-7, 12-10, 11-5 win against Alan Kurmangaliyev.

Sathiyan, however, could not clinch the quarterfinal place for India in the fourth match as he went down fighting to Kiril Gerassimenko 3-2, fighting back after losing the first game. Sathiyan lost 5-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-5, 5-11, twice coming back after losing a game only to lose the fifth and final game.

However, India could not be denied victory on Sunday as Sharath Kamal found his mojo when it was needed as he overcame Aidos Kenzhiguliov 3-2 in the decider. Sharath Kamal fought back after losing the first two games to win the next three and secure a dramatic victory for India. He eventually won the fifth match 5-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-9 in a nerve-jingling thriller.

The Indian men, who had topped their pool with three wins, next face South Korea for a place in the semifinals. Korea had got a bye in the pre-quarters.

Top seeds China, second seeds Japan and Chinese Taipei were the other teams to get a bye in this round. Iran, Hong Kong China and Singapore won their matches to complete the quarterfinal lineup.

In the women’s section, India failed to capitalise on a 2-1 lead as Manika Batra lost both her singles matches.

India went down 0-1 when Manika lost to 2021 South East Asian Games winner Orawan Paranang of Thailand in straight games, the 26-year-old experienced player soldier with the Royal Thai Army winning 11-7, 11-1, 13-11.

Ayhika Mukherjee levelled scores for India by beating Suthasini Sawettabut 3-1 (18-16, 11-7, 13-15, 11-9) in a hard-fought encounter.

Sutirtha Mukherjee made it 2-1 for India by defeating Tamolwan Khetkhuan 3-2, coming back from a 1-2 game deficit to win 11-1, 9-11, 3-11, 11-7, 11-7 in 49 minutes.

 Ayhika Mukherjee then lost the fourth match despite winning the first game and having a 2-1 lead. She went down to Orawan Paranang 12-10, 4-11, 11-5, 4-11, 3-11 as Thailand pulled level at two-match each.

Manika Batra won the first game in the decider but then lost the next three in a 12-10, 8-11, 7-11, 6-11 defeat to Suthasini Sawettarbut as India’s campaign came to an end in the women’s team competition.

It was a rather disappointing day for the women’s team as it could have won the pre-quarterfinal. Manika looked a bit off-colour in the first match and once India came under pressure, the players failed to recover.

Also read: Asian Games: opening performance titled ‘Water in Autumn Glow’, Hangzhou declares the Games open

By IANS Updated: Sep 24, 2023 6:07:24 pm
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