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Asian Games: Women cricketers bag gold in maiden attempt; rifle shooters set world record as India rise to 6th in table

Hangzhou, Sep 25 (IANS) The Indian women’s cricket bagged a gold medal in its first appearance in the Asian Games while the Men’s 10m Air Rifle Team set a new world record in bagging the yellow metal as India climbed up to the sixth position in the medals table with 11 medals on an eventful day on Monday.

The women’s cricket team defeated Sri Lanka in the final to win the gold medal in their first attempt. Smriti Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues stitched a crucial 73-run partnership, followed by young fast-bowling all-rounder Titas Sadhu bowling a deadly spell of 3-6 in four overs to help India beat Sri Lanka by 19 runs.

The troika of World Champion Rundrankksh Patil, Divyansh Panwar and Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar shot brilliantly to set a new world record of 1893.7 on their way to victory in the Men’s 10m Air Rifle Team competition.

With the women cricketers and the men’s 10m Air Rifle Team taking centre stage, India claimed six medals — two gold and four bronze medals on Monday. Of the four bronze medals, two each came in shooting and rowing.

The shooters won a bronze each in the men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol Team and Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar in the 10m Air Rifle Individual event, who had to overcome his teammate Rundankkash Patil in a shoot-off to finish third. In the Men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol Individual event, India’s Vijayveer Sidhu finished fourth and out of the medal bracket.

The rowers won bronze medals in the Men’s Quadruples and the Men’s Coxless Four on Monday and concluded their campaign in Hangzhou with five medals in all — two silver and three bronze medals. In terms of numbers, it was an improvement on their performance in the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia when they got three medals. However, the Indian rowers failed to get any gold in Hangzhou, which they had managed to do in Jakarta, five years back.

However, there were a few setbacks too, not bigger than the shocking defeat suffered by the men’s doubles pair of Rohan Bopanna and Yuki Bhambri, which crashed out in the second round. Playing their first match after getting a bye in the first round, the experienced pair of Bopanna, ranked 7th in the world, and Bhambri, who has a doubles ranking of 65, lost to Sergey Fomin and Khumoyun Sultanov 6-2, 3-6, (6-10) on Centre Court at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Tennis Stadium here.

Bopanna later came out and won the mixed doubles opener in partnership with Rutuja Bhosale. Rutuja advances in singles and women’s doubles too while the country’s top women’s singles player Ankita Raina handed Sabrina Olimjova of Uzbekistan a double bagle, winning 6-0, 6-0 in less than an hour on Monday while, Rutuja won her match in straight sets, having to overcome her opponent in a tiebreak in the first set.

The boxing squad too had a disappointment as Arundhati Chaudhary lost to China’s Liu Yang in the women’s 66kg first round.

However, World Championship bronze medallist Nishant Dev entered the Round of 16 with a 5-0 win over Nepal’s Dipesh Lama in the men’s 71kg weight class while Deepak too progressed in the Men’s 51kg, entering the Round of 16 with a 5-0 win over Malaysia’s Muhammad Abdul Qaiyum.

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