Khushbir Kaur at the podium at Incheon after clinching sliver © Getty Images

Incheon: Sep 28, 2014

The Indian national anthem was played for the third time in two days as Yogeshwar Dutt ended the nation’s 28-year-old wait for a gold medal from Asian Games wrestling while race walker Khushbir Kaur won the silver medal on a day when India won eight medals at the 17th Asian Games here.

The six bronze medals on the ninth day of competitions came from quartermilers Arokia Rajiv, M. Povamma Raju, hammer thrower Manju Bala and men’s singles, women’s doubles and men’s doubles tennis pairs taking India’s tally to 35 medals — four gold, five silver and 26 bronze medals.

The men’s doubles pair of Sanam Singh, Asian Games double gold medallist, and Saketh Myneni also entered the final after winning their sem-final encounter. Myneni, partnering Sania, is also in line for another gold as the mixed doubles pair also made it to the final.

Female boxers also assured India of at least three Asian Games medals as Olympic bronze medallist M.C. Mary Kom, former World Champion L. Sarita Devi and Pooja Rani won their quarter-final bouts to advance to the last four stage at the Seonhak Gymnasium here. All the three semi-finals are slated for Tuesday and the losers will get the bronze medal.

Thanks to Yogeshwar’s gold and Khushbir’s silver, India are back into the top-10 at the ninth spot. The medals table is dominated by China with 216 medals, including 105 gold medals, followed by South Korea (137) and Japan (126) in the second and third place, respectively.

The highlight of the day was Yogeshwar ending India’s long wait at the Asian Games for a gold medal from the sport. But his compatriots Babita Kumari and Satywart Kadian missed out on the bronze at the Dowon Gymnasium here Sunday. Another wrestler Jyoti, however, lost to Burmaa Ochirbat of Mongolia 4-0 in the quarterfinals of the women’s 75kg freestyle event.

Yogeshwar, Olympic bronze medallist, put on a stupendous show in winning 3-0 in the title-clash against Zalimkhan Yusupov of Tajikistan. Yogeshwar’s gold in men’s 65kg freestyle was India’s first since 1986, when Kartar Singh had won the yellow metal in the Seoul Games.

Displaying his never-say-die attitude, Yogeshwar was stupendous in all his three bouts in the day. He started the day beating Jinhyok Kang of North Korea 3-1, in his quarterfinal bout to set-up a clash with China’s Katai Yeerlanbieke in the semi-finals.

Against the Chinese, Yogeshwar looked in all sort of problems in an energy-sapping bout. Yeerlanbieke led throughout the game and with only a few seconds remaining he was ahead 9-7. But Yogeshwar made a stunning comeback in the dying moments of the game to pin down the Chinese and won the match 5-0 in a ‘victory by fall’ verdict.

In the gruelling final against Yusupov, Yogeshwar was very watchful. Yusupov tried all the tricks to pin down Yogehswar but the Indian was too quick. Yogeshwar opened his account at the end of the opening period. In the second period, a series of quick moves helped Yogeshwar earn two more points to get a 3-0 verdict.

In the track and field contest, Khushbir set the day for India by winning the silver medal in an hour and 33 minutes, 2.01 minutes behind China’s Xiuzhi Lu, who took the gold in the women’s 20km race walk event. South Korea’s Yeongeun Jeon won bronze with a timing of 1:33:18 secs.

But there was disappointment in store for the men, as Irfan Thodi (1:23:18 secs) finished fifth while K. Ganapathi was disqualified.

The quartermilers also put up a fine show as Rajiv and Povamma clinched the bronze medals in the men and women’s 400 metre events, respectively.

Rajiv clocked a personal best of 45.92 secs to win the bronze while the gold medal went to Saudi Arabia’s Yousef Ahmed Masrahim, who set a Games Record of 44.46 secs. The silver was clinched by 18-year-old Abbas Abubakar of Bahrain with a timing of 45.62 secs. Masrahim had also set the Asian record of 44.43 secs in the Diamond League in Lausanne in July.

In the women’s event, Bahrain’s Oluwakemi Mujidat Adekoya clinched the gold medal with a timing of 51.59 secs. Vietnam’s Thi Lan Quach got the silver with a personal best effort of 52.06 secs and Povamma got the bronze with a timing of 52.36 secs.

Manju won the bronze medal in the women’s hammer throw. Manju threw the hammer to a distance of 60.47 metres in her first attempt to win the bronze. The gold and silver went to China’s Wenxiu Zhang (77.33m) and Zheng Wang (74.16m), respectively.

The Indian tennis contingent had a fruitful outing in the 17th Asian Games Sunday, securing three bronze medals – men’s singles, women’s doubles and men’s doubles – and confirming at least two more silver – in men’s doubles and mixed doubles – at the Yeorumul Tennis Courts.

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