Ace shooter Abhinav Bindra fired to glory to sign off from his final Commonwealth Games with a gold while teenager Malaika Goel shot a silver and lifter Santoshi Matsa snatched a bronze as India’s medals tally reached the double figure mark on day two of competition the 2014 Glasgow Games here Friday.
With three gold pieces, four silvers and three bronze in their kitty, India remained fourth in the medal count after England (10-8-7), Australia (7-6-9) and hosts Scotland (6-3-4), even as luck deserted rifle shooter Ravi Kumar who missed out on lowest podium finish in a shoot-off, while former World No.1 Heena Sandhu finished a disappointing seventh.
Indian men began with a facile 3-1 win over lowly Wales on the hockey turf, the shuttlers smashed Kenya to top their group in the mixed team event, but pugilist Parveen Kumar was knocked out of competition in the pre-quarters of the men’s +91 kg category. Parveen’s compatriot Mandeep Jangra, however, proceeded to the Round of 16 in the men’s 69 kg category beating Augusto Mathule of Mozambique 3-0.
Expected to rule the ranges, Indian shooters had a mixed day at the Barry Buddon Shooting Centre.
Bindra and Ravi were engaged in an interesting duel during the final round of the men’s 10m air rifle event. Ravi was in lead after 12 shots but Bindra took over him in the 13th shot and then raced away to seal his maiden individual gold at the Commonwealth Games in style.
For Bindra, India’s only individual Olympic gold medallist, it was his fifth and last Commonwealth Games here. On the eve of the event, the 31 year old Beijing Olympics gold medallist had announced he would not participate in the Commonwealth Games in future.
Bindra, the youngest participant at the 1998 Commonwealth Games, shot 205.3 in the final to clinch his fourth Commonwealth Gold medal. His previous three gold medals were in pairs. He had won singles silver medals in 2002 and 2010 and bronze in 2006.
The Olympic champion shot 205.3 in a keenly contested final round that saw three shoot-off. Bindra also had a good qualifying round where he finished third with 622.2 points.
The silver went to Bangladesh’s Abdullah Baki while England’s Daniel Rivers got the bronze. Both Baki and Rivers were tied for the second position after the eighth shot but Baki won the shoot-off.
Baki finished with a score of 202.1 and was fifth in the qualifying rounds with a score of 620. Rivers topped the qualifying rounds with a score of shot 623.6, which was a Games Record and got 182.4 in the final.
Rivers and India’s Ravi Kumar were also tied for the third place but the Englishman clinched the shoot-off. Ravi shot 162.4 in the final.
Ahead of Bindra’s golden finish, India scooped up a silver from the ranges, courtesy 16-year-old Malaika in the women’s 10m air pistol event. It was the first international medal for the world No.15 Malaika.
She shot a total of 197.1 points while the gold went to unfancied Singaporean shooter Shun Xie Teowho carded 198.6. Dorothy Ludwig of Canada took the bronze with 177.2 points.
Both Heena, World No.4, and Malaika were the highest ranked shooters in the competition and expectations were high from them. But Heena, silver medal winner in the Delhi Games four years back, faltered badly in the final round with a score of 95.8 and was eliminated after the fourth shot, despite topping the qualification round.
There were more cheers for the country from the Clyde Auditorium hosting the weightlifting event. Santoshi won the bronze medal in the women’s 53kg while her compatriot Swati Singh finished fourth.
The gold went to Nigeria’s 16-year-old Chika Amalaha, who created a Games record. Papua New Guinea’s Dika Toua won the silver.
Santoshi lifted a total of 188 kg — 83 kg in snatch and 105 in clean and jerk. The 26-year-old Swati hauled 183 kg – matching Santoshi in snatch, but came up with a poor show in clean and jerk managing just 100 kg.
In hockey, the men’s team began in a lacklustre manner, but picked up steam as the games progressed to put it across Wales in a Pool A tie at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre.
After a 1-1 halftime scoreline, India played a much better second half that saw two goals being scored.
Indian shuttlers also continued their fine show as they thrashed Kenya 5-0 in their final Pool B match to top the group.
In the boxing ring, Parveen Kumar’s campaign ended in the round of 16, as he was knocked out by host pugilist Ross Henderson.