Asian Games: China grabs the medals

Matthew Varghese
(Sorry, this article is dated. We will get out of the time machine soon!)

India may scamper to compete with China in the economic sphere, but as far as the sporting arena goes, it is trailing way behind. As on December 6, India is placed at the seventh spot in the medals tally of the fifteenth Asian Games being held at Doha, Qatar. China has bagged 77 gold medals compared to India’s three medals. Grandmaster Koneru Humpy struck gold in the women’s rapid chess; Pankaj Advani won the billiards title, and the Indian men continued their supremacy in Kabaddi.

China further embarrassed India when both its men’s and women’s hockey teams defeated India in ‘its own national sport.’ In another letdown, discus thrower Seema Antil pulled out of the Games after having tested positive in a dope test undertaken during pre-training practice in Muscat.

The Indian shooting contingent has had a disappointing run so far; with no gold medals yet, winning four silvers and a bronze respectively. Olympic silver medallist Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore also had to settle for a bronze in the double trap. Rathore along with Vikram Bhatnagar and Ronjon Sodhi won silver in the men’s double trap team event. Manavjit Singh Sandhu bagged silvers in the men’s trap and in the team trap with Mansher Singh and Anwer Sultan. Women shooters won a silver and bronze in the team events. ‘Shooting star’ Anjali Bhagwat was unable to win a single medal.

In tennis, India was knocked out of the men’s team event, with the fancied Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi losing their doubles tie. The quarter-final loss to the Chinese Taipei prompted Paes to question the fitness and commitment of Bhupathi. However, the Grand Slam winning doubles pair is slated to play together in the men’s doubles event. However, the grey clouds had a silver lining with wins from Sania Mirza and Shikha Uberoi who helped India beat Uzbekistan 2-0 and move into the finals of the women’s team event.

Indian men rowers Bijender Singh and Kiran Yalamanchi won the bronze in the men’s double sculls event. In cue sports, India could only manage to bag the bronze in the men’s snooker team event whereas Ashok Shandilya lost to Advani in the billiards singles.

India are also the favourites in the chess events. The weightlifters miss out since the Indian Weightlifting Federation has failed to pay a USD $50,000 fine to the International Weightlifting Federation to lift the suspension imposed after lifters failing dope tests in this year’s Commonwealth Games.

The Indian contingent has so far won three gold, five silver and six bronze medals. The Indian contingent finished seventh in the last Asian Games in 2002 at Busan, Korea, bagging 11 golds, 12 silvers and 13 bronze.

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