Athletes give India smiles after two days
Doha, Dec 13 (IANS) The women's 4x400 metres relay team struck gold - the first for India in three days - to resurrect the nation's sagging morale Tuesday, the day the men's 4x400m relay team won a silver and a bronze while a bronze came in sailing in the 15th Asian Games here.
The women's relay team of Sati Geetha, Pinki Paramanik, Chitra Kulathummuriyil and Manjeet Kaur combined well while changing batons and ran an admirable four laps to emerge the winner in 3:32.95 seconds.
Running the second lap Pinki made up for a poor start by Geetha. Chitra ran a good third lap to raise hopes of gold and Manjeet put the seal on the medal as she won comfortably with her long strides. Kazakhstan finished second in 3:33.86 sec and China, which took lead initially, finished third in 3:33.92 sec.
But the gold, which came late in the day, failed to lift India on the medals table. The country slipped by one place to ninth with seven gold, 16 silver and 19 bronze for a total of 42 medals.
China continued to consolidate its position atop as it took its total to a whopping 266 medals that included 135 gold, 74 silver and 57 bronze.
For the second place, it's a neck-and-neck battle between South Korea and Japan. South Korea is currently holding a slender edge over Japan with 47 gold, 42 silver and 74 bronze for a grand total of 163 medals.
Japan is placed third with 46 gold, 58 silver and 66 bronze for a tally of 170 medals.
For India, the other performance of note came in the men's 4x400m relay. Aboo Backer Thanikkal, Joseph Abraham, Bhupinder Singh and Binu Mathew combined well to clock 3:06.39 sec to finish second and won a well-deserved silver.
Saudi Arabia won the gold with 3:05.31 sec and Sri Lanka the bronze in 3:06.97 sec.
The other athletics medal came in the women's 1,500m with Sinimole Puaulose clocking 4:15.09 sec, missing the silver by 0.13 sec. Yusuf Maryam Jamal clocked 4:08.63 seconds to win the gold while Yuriko Kobayashi of Japan timed 4:14.96 sec for the bronze.
Rajesh Choudhary, who finished third in laser radial (open), behind Chinese Xu Lijia and Singapore's Koh Seng Leong, won the lone bronze. He remained the lone Indian medallist for most part of the day, before the women discovered gold.
In tennis, India is in three finals - women's singles, men's doubles and mixed doubles - and on way to three more gold medals Wednesday.
In the women's singles, fourth seed Sania Mirza of India will face Chinese Jie Zheng in the final after she defeated No. 1 seed Li Na of China 6-2, 6-2 in a magnificent display in the semi-finals. In the other semi-final, Jie defeated Aiko Nakamura of Japan 6-3, 6-2 at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex.
In men's doubles, top seeds Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi booked their final berth by defeating Cecil Mamiit and Fredrick Taino of the Philippines 6-2, 6-4 in semi-finals. The Indians will play fourth seeds Sanchai Ratiwatana and Sonchat Ratiwatana in the final.
In the mixed doubles, top seeds Paes and Sania will face seventh seeded Satoshi Iwabuchi and Aiko Nakamura of Japan in the final.
Although the men's hockey team has been ousted from medal contention, the women's team will play for the bronze medal against South Korea Wednesday.
After failing to make it to the semi-finals for the first time ever in the games, the Indian men Tuesday thrashed Chinese Taipei 12-1 in a match to determine fifth to eight positions.
India will now play Malaysia for the fifth position Thursday.
The continent's 45 nations are taking part in the 15-day extravaganza. The games end Friday.