Day 1: Bajrang opens India's gold account after shooting bronze
NEW DELHI,19th Aug: India had to wait until late evening on day one for its first gold of the 2018 Asian Games, when wrestler Bajrang Punia defeated Japan's Takatani Daichi in the men's 65kg Freestyle final. Earlier in the day, Apurvi Chandela and Ravi Kumar opened India's medal account with a bronze in shooting. Punia faced a stiff challenge from the Japanese before winning 11-8 in the end, thanks to an extra point after Daichi lost his appeal.
En route to his gold medal bout, Bajrang defeated Khasanov Sirojiddin (Uzbekistan), Fayziev Abdulqosim (Tajikistan) and Batchuluun Batmagnai (Mongolia). In the morning, Chandela and Ravi won bronze in the 10m Air Rifle Mixed Team event to get India going but finished behind China and Chinese Taipei. The Indian pair shot 429.9 points in the final, while Chinese Taipei bagged the gold with a Games Record of 494.1 points. Favourites China settled for silver with 492.5 points. Apurvi and Ravi qualified for the final at second position with a score of 835.3 points behind South Korea (836.7 points). Korea finished fourth in the final.
Meanwhile, on the wrestling mat earlier in the day Punia and Sandeep Tomar (57kg) progressed to their respective quarterfinals. Punia came from 0-3 behind to win the next 13 points for a 13-3 victory by technical superiority over Khasanov. Tomar won his 1/8th match against Turkmenistan's Rustem Nazarov 12-8. Also, Pawan Kumar won by fall against Cambodia's Vuthy Heng to reach the Men's 86kg last-eight stage.
In the quarterfinals, however, Tomar lost 15-9 to Iran's Reza Atrinagharchi, who failed to reach the final and thus ended the Indian's chances of a bronze through repechage. But gold-medal favourite Punia defeated Abdulqosim 12-2 by technical superiority to book his place in the semifinal. Mausam Khatri also lost his quarterfinal to Ibragimov Magomed of Uzbekistan in men's 97kg category. Pawan was next on the mat in his 86kg last-eight match, but he was no match for his Iranian opponent Hasan Yazdanicharati, who registered a comprehensive win.
Pawan was lucky to get a shot at bronze after Iran's Hassan Yazdani entered the 86kg final, and the Indian didn't disappoint in his first repechage bout as he defeated Indonesia's Fahriansayah 11-0 to stay in contention. However, he lost the bronze-medal match to Mongolia's Orgodol Uitumen. Punia was, thus, the lone Indian wrestler to enter the semis, and he didn't let his winning momentum drop. Facing Batmagnai, the Indian favourite registered another win by technical superiority as he raced to a 10-0 lead shortly after the second period began and booked a place in the gold-medal match.
However, two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar was beaten by Bahrain's Adam Batirov in the 74 kg category. Sushil lost his qualification-round match 3-5 and also missed out on repechage route to win bronze after Batirov failed to make it to the final. In the other shooting event of the day, the Indian pair of Manu Bhaker and Abhishek Verma failed to qualify for the 10m Air Pistol Mixed Team finals.
In badminton, India beat Maldives 3-0 to progress to the quarterfinals of Men's Team event. But in handball, India's women's team lost its Group A match against China 21-36. The women's volleyball team met the same fate in their Pool B match, going down to South Korea in straight games 25-17, 25-11, 25-13. India's hockey campaign also began on a thumping note as the women's team thrashed hosts Indonesia 8-0 in a group match.
Earlier, India women kabaddi team beat Japan 43-12 in its Group A match. The men's team played two matches on Sunday and won both. After defeating Bangladesh 50-21 in the morning, they went on to beat Sri Lanka 44-28 in the evening to stay on top of Group A. In rowing, Malkeet Singh and Gurinder Singh qualified for Men's Pair final, while the team of Om Prakash and Sawarn Singh entered Men's Double Sculls final.
India started well in the pool as swimmer Sajan Prakash qualified for men's 200m butterfly final and Srihari Nataraj reached 100m backstroke final. However, Nataraj finished a disappointing seventh in the final with a timing of 56.19. Prakash fared a little better in his final, but a timing of 1:57.75 could only fetch him a fifth position. The Indian women's basketball team had a disappointing day as it lost 61-84 to Chinese Taipei. This was India's second defeat in the group stage, having earlier lost to Kazakhstan 61-79. In men's Changquan final of Wushu, Anjul Namdeo and Suraj Singh Mayanglambam finished fifth and tenth, respectively. In the evening, Sanatombi Chanu finished 14th in women's Taijiquan event with a score of 9.35, while Sanathoi Devi lost to Iran's Mansoryan Elaheh 0-2 in the women's Sanda (-52kg) Round of 16.
Santosh Kumar brought good news to the Wushu contingent when he progressed to the Round of 16 with a 2-0 win over Myanmar's Linn Rain in the men's Sanda -56kg match. Also, Pardeep Kumar progressed to the Men's Sanda -70kg quarterfinal with a 2-0 win over Tajikistan's Khurshedzoda Mirzodalerkhon On the taekwondo mat, the women's team suffered a defeat against Thailand in their Round-of-16 match.