Wrestlers Add 6 Medals as Bajrang, Sakshi and Deepak Win Gold; Women’s Hockey Lose in Semis


Indian wrestlers were in ominous form as they grabbed six medals, including three gold, on day eight of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games (CWG). As freestyle wrestling made its debut at the Birmingham Games, Bajrang Punia was a class apart while defending his title before Sakshi Malik produced a sensational gold medal-winning effort and Deepak Punia also contributed in swelling India’s medal tally by winning the men’s freestyle 86kg gold.

Birthday girl Anshu Malik (57kg) had to be content with a silver medal in her maiden CWG appearance. Divya Kakran clinched a bronze in 68kg, winning the play-off in just 26 seconds as Mohit Grewal ensured that India had a medal to show in all categories on Friday, winning the 125kg bronze play-off to cap a successful day in style.

There was heartbreak for the women’s hockey team as they lost to in the shootout 3-0 under controversial circumstances to Australia in the semi-final. The game had ended level 1-1 in regulation time with Australia getting the lead in the 10th minute through Rebecca Greiner before Vandana Katariya equalised in the 49th minute.

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The historic gold won by the women’s quartet seems to have inspired the men as well as Sunil Bahadur, Navneet Singh, Chandan Kumar Singh and Dinesh Kumar came back from 3-8 down after seven ends to win the encounter 13-12 against hosts England to reach the final. Earlier they had beaten Canada’s Robert Law, Greg Wilson, John Bezear and Cameron Lefresne 14-10 in the Men’s Fours quarters.
However, Lovely Choubey and Nayanmoni Saikia bowed out in the quarter finals of the women’s pairs competition in Lawn Bowls. They went down to Sophie Tolchard and Amy Pharaoh of England 14-18.

Achanta Sharath Kamal put up a sensational show to progress to the semifinals of all his three events in the table tennis competition of the Commonwealth Games here on Friday.

The record nine-time national champion, who has as many as 10 CWG medals to his name, entered the men’s singles semifinals after beating Nigeria’s Olajide Omotayo 4-2 in a thrilling contest.

Sharath, 40, also reached the semifinals of mixed and men’s doubles competition along with his respective partners.

He first paired up with young Sreeja Akula to stun two-time silver medallists Liam Pitchford and Tin-Tin Ho of England 3-2 (11-7 8-11 11-8 11-13 11-9) in mixed doubles quarters and then combined with Sathiyan Gnanasekaran to beat another English pair of Tom Jarvis and Sam Walker 3-0 (11-6 11-8 11-4) in men’s doubles event.

Sreeja too dished out superlative performances to progress to the women’s singles semifinals to go with her mixed doubles performance.

The 24-year-old from Hyderabad showed nerves of steel as she scripted a sensational come-from-behind 4-3 win over Mo Zhang of Canada to advance to the semifinals.

She beat Zhang 9-11 11-4 6-11 9-11 11-5 11-4 11-8 in her quarterfinal match.

Gnanasekaran also reached the men’s singles quarters, beating Nicholas Lum 4-2 at the NEC Hall.

However, Sanil Shetty lost 2-4 to Nigeria’s Bode Abiodun.

Sreeja and Sharath had earlier come from behind to beat Malaysia’s Leond Chee Fang and Ho Ying 5-11 11-2 11-6 11-5, while Sharath and Gnanasekaran eased past Bangladesh’s Bawm Ramhimlian and Ridoy Mohutasin Ahmed 11-6 11-1 11-4 in their round of 16 clash.

Defending champion Manika Batra, however, had a bad day as she suffered a 0-4 defeat against Jian Zeng of Singapore in the women’s singles quarterfinal to bow out of the competition.

Earlier, Manika and Sathiyan had lost 2-3 to Malaysia’s Javen Choong and Karen Lyne, while men’s pairing of Sanil Shetty and Harmeet Desai also ended their campaign with a 0-3 loss to Singapore’s Chew Zhe Yu Clarence and Poh Shao Feng Ethan. In another result, Sreeja and Reeth Tennison entered the pre-quarterfinals with a 3-0 win over Scotland’s Lucy Elliott and Rebecca Plaistow.

Earlier in the day, Manika and Sreeja had entered the women’s singles quarterfinals. While the 27-year-old Batra steamrolled Australian Jee Minhyung 11-4 11-8 11-6 12-10 to set up a fight with Singapore’s Jian Zeng, Sreeja played out a nerve-wracking encounter against Charlotte Carey of Wales to secure herself a last eight berth. The 24-year-old toiled hard but held her nerves to beat Carey 8-11 11-7 12-14 9-11 11-4 15-13 12-10.

Meanwhile, Reeth Tennison, bowed out in the women’s singles event after she went down to Singapore’s Feng Tianwei in a round of 16 match.

Tianwei proved too strong for Tennison as the latter was beaten 11-2 11-4 9-11 11-3 11-4.

On the Athletics track, the Men’s 4*400m relay quartet of Noah Nirmal, Amol Jacob, Md. Anas and Md. Ajmal made it through to the final with a second-place finish in their heat-2. Their timing of 3:06:97 was behind Kenya’s 3:06:76. India’s Jyothi Yarraji finished fourth in her heat with a timing of 13.18s. She was 10th overall. Ancy Sojan Edappilly finished 6th with a best jump of 6.25 in Qualifying Round – Group A as
Hima Das failed to qualify for the final of the women’s 200m as the 22-year-old from Assam finished third in semifinal 2 with a timing of 23.42 seconds,falling short of the cut off mark by just 0.01 seconds.

Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal lost to Yiwen Chan and Ainaa Ampandi 2-11, 7-11 in the women’s doubles quarter-final as Velavan Senthilkumar and Abhay Singh won their men’s doubles round of 16 clash against Douglas Kempsell and Alan Clyne 8-11, 11-10, 11-8.

Deepika Pallikal and Sourav Ghosal booked their place in the semifinal as they Grinham Rachael and Alexander Zac of Australia 11-9, 11-5.

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