New Delhi: Despite the heroics of the boxers and paddlers, India was pushed to the third spot at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on Wednesday, even as an Indian athlete failed a drug test.
The host team won three golds in boxing and one in table tennis, finishing with 36 gold, 26 silver and 34 bronze medals on the penultimate day of the event.
But England nosed ahead with 37-56-45 while Australia remained comfortably on top at 72-49-47.
Suranjoy Mayengbam won the flyweight boxing gold for India by a walkover when his opponent failed to show up. The 24-year-old from Manipur stood in the ring for five minutes but with no sign of Kenya’s Benson Njangiru, the referee declared him the winner.
Manoj Kumar gave India its second boxing gold after beating England’s Bradley Saunders on points in the light welterweight category. The 23-year-old built a commanding lead in the first two rounds with some powerful hitting to take the bout 11-2 at the final bell. Later, Paramjeet Samota of India won in the super-heavyweight division, beating Tariq Abdul Haqq from Trinidad and Tobago 5-1.
In table tennis, favourites Sharath Kamal Achanta and Subhajit Saha of India brought a noisy home crowd to its feet to take gold in the men’s doubles. The top seeds beat Singapore’s Gao Ning and Yang Zi in a tense final, going behind in the first set before rallying to level the match and then taking a fifth set decider 11-8 at the Yamuna Sports Complex.
Golden gloves: Manoj Kumar gave India its second boxing gold after beating England’s Bradley Saunders on points in the light welterweight category. Priyanka Prashar / Mint
Achanta had courted controversy earlier in the day when he blamed his fans after going out of the singles in a thrilling semi-final.
“The crowd was a big distraction for me and playing on home ground already had me under pressure,” he said.
Indian race walker Rani Yadav tested positive for a banned steroid and was provisionally suspended, the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) said. The 20-year-old, who finished sixth in the women’s 20 km walk on Saturday, had her suspension extended at a hearing later on Wednesday. “Ms Yadav has asked for the B sample to be tested,” read a CGF statement.
Yadav’s first sample showed traces of 19-Norandrosterone, a metabolite of the banned muscle-building steroid nandrolone.
Yadav is the third athlete to fail a dope test at the Games after Nigerians Osayemi Oludamola and 110m hurdler Samuel Okon.
India will have a chance to return to the second spot on Thursday, with the men’s hockey team playing in the final and top seed Saina Nehwal vying for the badminton singles title. Nehwal will step into the court on the last day of the event aiming to become India’s first woman shuttler to win a Commonwealth Games gold, with Malaysian Mew Choo Wong standing in her way.
Gursharan Kaur, wife of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, will be rooting for Nehwal at the Siri Fort Auditorium. Singh himself will be at the Dhyan Chand Stadium, cheering the hockey team.