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Late charge helps India record best-ever medal haul

By The Assam Tribune

GUANGZHOU, Nov 27 (PTI): The super charge led by athletes, boxers and tennis players in the last seven days of the Asian Games not only provided the impetus to the floundering Indian campaign but also scripted a memorable climax as the country recorded its best ever performance at the sporting event.

India ended its campaign in the sporting spectacle in the sixth position with 14 gold, bettering the 13 won at home in Delhi 28 years ago, 17 silver and 33 bronze medals.

The total medal haul of 64 here is also the highest for India in Asiad history as it bettered the 1982 haul in Delhi of 57 comprising 13-19-25.

The sixth spot on the medal rostrum by India is the best it has attained since 1986 at Seoul, but a quarter century ago there was no Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and the rest of the former Soviet bloc to make the competition as stiff as it was here. In fact Kazakhstan finished higher than India.

India ended fifth in Seoul, though with a more modest haul of 5-9-23.

Since that campaign nearly a quarter century ago, India have finished no higher than eighth, with their worst-ever show coming twenty years ago when they finished 12th in the Beijing Games.

The tally of 64 medals here pales in comparison to the 101 medals fetched at last month�s Commonwealth Games in Delhi, containing 38 gold which helped India finish second for the first time in those Games.

However, the smaller medal harvest needs to be considered in proper perspective as the mega event followed another huge event in close succession and the competition in the Guangzhou Games was much stronger in several disciplines than at the Delhi CWG.

Hosts China are close to 200 gold medals � also their best-ever medal haul that even exceeded what they did in 1990 when they grabbed 183-107-51 for a total tally of 341.

The Chinese dragon consumed all in its wake and though Korea and Japan, to a much smaller extent, tried to slow down the progress of the juggernaut, they could not arrest the hosts� relentless march. The Asian Games, the second largest after the Olympics, showed starkly that the majority of the Indian contingent had no credentials to compete at this level.

The shooters and wrestlers, who were the toast of the nation at the CWG, put up a flop show and had the thunder stolen from them by the athletes, boxers, India�s number one tennis player Somdev Devvarman and also the kabaddi men and women teams.

The other creditable stories came from the archery range, where Tarundeep Rai bagged India�s first ever individual medal � a silver, rower Takhar who won India�s first ever gold in the discipline and that too with borrowed boats.

The success stories of gymnast Ashish Kumar, who won the floor exercise bronze for the first-ever medal in the sport, and swimmer Virdhwal Khade were also memorable.

Young Khade provided India with its first medal from the pool since 1986 Seoul Games. He bagged the men�s 50m butterfly bronze. Khazan Singh Tokas was the last medalist in swimming for India, winning silver in 200m fly in the Korean capital.

India also won four bronze medals from little followed and practice games of wushu, the Chinese martial art, and roller skating (2) that was introduced here as a medal sport.

Apart from the super flop show by freestyle wrestlers, another major flunk show was by the men�s hockey team which aimed for the gold medal and ended up with a bronze.

Adding to the list of failures was ace woman shuttler Saina Nehwal, double-gold winner in CWG, who came a cropper as the second seed in the singles event. Out of 14 gold won by India, athletes accounted for the highest, five, followed by boxers (2), tennis (2) and men and women kabaddi players (2).

The other titles were lifted by Pankaj Advani (billiards), the first for the country here, shotgun ace Ronjan Sodhi and rower Bajrang Lal Takhar.

A little-known athlete from the backyards of south India, Ashwini Chidananda, became the new golden girl of Indian athletics by clinching a double gold in women�s 400m hurdles and 4x400m relay to help the country�s track and field campaign end with a bang last evening.

Karnataka runner Ashwini�s heroics were the icing on the cake after experienced distance runners Preeja Sreedharan and Sudha Singh had provided the early spark with a double gold strike in women�s 10,000m and 3,000m steeplechase on the opening day of athletics.

Kerala athlete Joseph Abraham took the corresponding men�s low hurdles gold, the first for India in track events for men in 28 years after the 1982 feat of Charles Borromeo in the 800m, to help the country complete a pioneering golden double in the same athletics event in the Games.

The athletes bagged two silver and four bronze medals too to complement the five-gold haul and help the country end with its second-best-ever gold haul in athletics after the 2002 Games in Busan where the tally was 7-6-5 (17).

Indian boxing�s poster boy Vijender Singh provided the spark to India�s campaign as he outplayed two-time world champion Abbos Atoev of Uzbekistan for the 75kg gold to finally attain win a title at a major event after a string of bronze medals in his kitty.

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Late charge helps India record best-ever medal haul

GUANGZHOU, Nov 27 (PTI): The super charge led by athletes, boxers and tennis players in the last seven days of the Asian Games not only provided the impetus to the floundering Indian campaign but also scripted a memorable climax as the country recorded its best ever performance at the sporting event.

India ended its campaign in the sporting spectacle in the sixth position with 14 gold, bettering the 13 won at home in Delhi 28 years ago, 17 silver and 33 bronze medals.

The total medal haul of 64 here is also the highest for India in Asiad history as it bettered the 1982 haul in Delhi of 57 comprising 13-19-25.

The sixth spot on the medal rostrum by India is the best it has attained since 1986 at Seoul, but a quarter century ago there was no Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and the rest of the former Soviet bloc to make the competition as stiff as it was here. In fact Kazakhstan finished higher than India.

India ended fifth in Seoul, though with a more modest haul of 5-9-23.

Since that campaign nearly a quarter century ago, India have finished no higher than eighth, with their worst-ever show coming twenty years ago when they finished 12th in the Beijing Games.

The tally of 64 medals here pales in comparison to the 101 medals fetched at last month�s Commonwealth Games in Delhi, containing 38 gold which helped India finish second for the first time in those Games.

However, the smaller medal harvest needs to be considered in proper perspective as the mega event followed another huge event in close succession and the competition in the Guangzhou Games was much stronger in several disciplines than at the Delhi CWG.

Hosts China are close to 200 gold medals � also their best-ever medal haul that even exceeded what they did in 1990 when they grabbed 183-107-51 for a total tally of 341.

The Chinese dragon consumed all in its wake and though Korea and Japan, to a much smaller extent, tried to slow down the progress of the juggernaut, they could not arrest the hosts� relentless march. The Asian Games, the second largest after the Olympics, showed starkly that the majority of the Indian contingent had no credentials to compete at this level.

The shooters and wrestlers, who were the toast of the nation at the CWG, put up a flop show and had the thunder stolen from them by the athletes, boxers, India�s number one tennis player Somdev Devvarman and also the kabaddi men and women teams.

The other creditable stories came from the archery range, where Tarundeep Rai bagged India�s first ever individual medal � a silver, rower Takhar who won India�s first ever gold in the discipline and that too with borrowed boats.

The success stories of gymnast Ashish Kumar, who won the floor exercise bronze for the first-ever medal in the sport, and swimmer Virdhwal Khade were also memorable.

Young Khade provided India with its first medal from the pool since 1986 Seoul Games. He bagged the men�s 50m butterfly bronze. Khazan Singh Tokas was the last medalist in swimming for India, winning silver in 200m fly in the Korean capital.

India also won four bronze medals from little followed and practice games of wushu, the Chinese martial art, and roller skating (2) that was introduced here as a medal sport.

Apart from the super flop show by freestyle wrestlers, another major flunk show was by the men�s hockey team which aimed for the gold medal and ended up with a bronze.

Adding to the list of failures was ace woman shuttler Saina Nehwal, double-gold winner in CWG, who came a cropper as the second seed in the singles event. Out of 14 gold won by India, athletes accounted for the highest, five, followed by boxers (2), tennis (2) and men and women kabaddi players (2).

The other titles were lifted by Pankaj Advani (billiards), the first for the country here, shotgun ace Ronjan Sodhi and rower Bajrang Lal Takhar.

A little-known athlete from the backyards of south India, Ashwini Chidananda, became the new golden girl of Indian athletics by clinching a double gold in women�s 400m hurdles and 4x400m relay to help the country�s track and field campaign end with a bang last evening.

Karnataka runner Ashwini�s heroics were the icing on the cake after experienced distance runners Preeja Sreedharan and Sudha Singh had provided the early spark with a double gold strike in women�s 10,000m and 3,000m steeplechase on the opening day of athletics.

Kerala athlete Joseph Abraham took the corresponding men�s low hurdles gold, the first for India in track events for men in 28 years after the 1982 feat of Charles Borromeo in the 800m, to help the country complete a pioneering golden double in the same athletics event in the Games.

The athletes bagged two silver and four bronze medals too to complement the five-gold haul and help the country end with its second-best-ever gold haul in athletics after the 2002 Games in Busan where the tally was 7-6-5 (17).

Indian boxing�s poster boy Vijender Singh provided the spark to India�s campaign as he outplayed two-time world champion Abbos Atoev of Uzbekistan for the 75kg gold to finally attain win a title at a major event after a string of bronze medals in his kitty.

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