Gowda lands discus gold, wrestlers Yogeshwar, Babita triumph
Discus thrower Vikas Gowda broke a 56-year jinx, to toast with gold alongside wrestlers Yogeshwar Dutt and Babita Kumari as India snaked up to the fifth spot in the medal race at the Commonwealth Games at Glasgow on Thursday.
After a day of elusive hunt, Indian sportspersons clinched the shining yellow medal thrice – in a replay of their exploits Tuesday – besides a silver and a bronze, to bring cheers to the team contingent here and to the billion plus supporters back home.
With their kitty swelling to 13 gold medals, 20 silver pieces and 14 bronze medallions, India overtook New Zealand to take the fifth position in the leaderboard after England (42-38-38), Australia (36-34-41), Canada (26-13-22) and marginally behind hosts Scotland (14-12-16).
India had finished second as organisers of the previous edition of the Games in Delhi.
The wrestlers won two gold, a silver and a bronze to wrap up their tryst with the mat at an impressive 13 medals – five of them gold, in addition to half a dozen silvers and two bronze.
Gowda won the country’s first medal from track and field in the Glasgow games.
In the early days of the competition, the Indian shooters had given India a rich haul of 17 medals including four gold pieces.
The 31-year-old Gowda upgraded the silver he had won four years ago in New Delhi with a best throw of 63.64 metres, thereby becoming India’s only second male athlete to earn the costliest medal at the Commonwealth Games, 56 years after the legendary Milkha Singh’s golden run in the 440 yards at Cardiff.
Gowda’s best throw came on his third attempt, as he bettered his throw each time from 60.63m to 62.09 to 63.64. But his fourth and sixth attempts were disqualified with the fifth reading 62.17m.
In the wrestling arena. Olympic bronze medallist Yogeshwar Dutt beat Jevon Balfour of Canada in the men’s freestyle 65kg category final. The Indian was declared the winner on grounds of technical superiority after he took a 10-0 lead within 1.53 minutes of the first period.
Babita Kumari began the country’s gold conquest on the mat Thursday by putting on a stunning show to prevail over Canada’s Brittanee Laverdure in the women’s 55kg freestyle category summit clash at the SECC Hall.
The 24-year-old Babita, who had bagged the silver in the 2010 Commonwealth Games, won 9-2 against the 32-year-old Brittanee, who ended up injuring her finger during the bout.
Babita dominated most of the proceedings and it was only in the last 15 seconds that Brittanne managed to open her scoring but by then it was all over.
India’s grappler Geetika Jakhar had to settle for the silver medal after she lost the women’s freestyle 63 kg final to Canada’s Danielle Lappage.The 28-year-old Geetika proved no match for the 23-year-old Danielle, who won 7-0.
Wrestler Pawan Kumar earlier came from behind to win against Pakistan’s Muhammad Inam to clinch the bronze medal in the men’s freestlye 86kg category. The two wrestlers were tied at 6-6 but Pawan was adjudged the winner since he scored the last point.
It was also a historic day for the nation in artistic gymnastics, as Dipa Karmakar became the first Indian woman and the second person from the country to clinch a Commonwealth Games medal when she won the women’s vault bronze at the SSE Hydro.Agartala-born Dipa got the bronze with an average score of 14.366.
Ashish Kumar, who had won India’s maiden gymnastics medals in CWG by scalping the men’s vault silver and men’s floor bronze fours years ago in New Delhi, ended sixth in the men’s floor final.
The men’s hockey team moved into the semi final by winning their fourth and final Pool A game 5-2 against South Africa. They will take on New Zealand Saturday. India needed only a draw to make the cut for the last four, but did it in style by thrashing the Africans, for whom it was a must-win contest.
India thus finished second in Pool A with three wins out of four matches behind defending champions Australia.
In the badminton court, Parupalli Kashyap, R.M.V. Gurusaidutt and P.C. Thulasi won their respective Round of 16 matches to enter the quarter-finals.
India went down to England 12-14 in the semi-finals of the men’s fours lawn bowls and will face Australia for the bronze medal Friday.
However, road cyclists Arvind Panwar and Sombir finished 28th and 37th in the men’s individual time trial,while Anthony Amalraj and Madhurika Patkar lost in the fourth round of the mixed doubles table tennis event.