Guangzhou: Hurdler Ashwini Chidananda stole the limelight with a gold medal while the Indian men’s hockey team and talented middle distance runner Tintu Luka bagged the bronze as India added four more medals to their kitty on the 13th day of competitions in the 16th Asian Games here on Thursday.
Mausam Khatri also had his moment of glory by winning the bronze in men’s 96kg freestyle wrestling event to make amends for the otherwise disappointing show by his colleagues on the mat.
With the addition of four more medals, India’s medal haul climbed to eight gold, 13 silver and 29 bronze on an eventful day which saw the men’s and women’s kabaddi teams keeping themselves on course for the coveted gold.
Ashwini took centre stage as she snatched the gold in the women’s 400 m hurdles with a timing of 56.15 to give India their 8th gold medal in the Games.
Young Tintu Luka won the bronze medal in 800 metres event but team-mate Sinimole Paulose finished a disappointing seventh. Luka, a protegee of former sprint champion PT Usha, clocked 2:01.36 while Paulose timed 2:06.95.
Luka led the pack right from the start, but couldn’t keep pace in the last 50 metres.
The Indian men’s hockey team lifted itself from the disappointment of missing a final berth and clinched the bronze medal after defeating four-time champions South Korea in the third-place playoff.
India beat the 2002 and 2006 champions with a lone second half goal through Tushar Khandekar to end their campaign on a better note than four years ago in Doha where they ended up a poor fifth.
Having their dreams of winning the gold destroyed by the 3-4 defeat against Malaysia in the semifinals, the Rajpal Singh-led side outsmarted the fitter and faster Koreans.
By virtue of this bronze, India ended their eight year-long medal drought in the quadrennial event after having finished on the podium (silver) last in the 2002 Busan Games.
India’s win also ended double defending champions South Korea’s honeymoon in Asian Games hockey. This is the first instance since the 1986 Seoul Games that they finished without a medal.
Mausam Khatri gave the Indian wrestling contingent its third medal by bagging a bronze in the men’s 96kg freestyle category.
Khatri got the better of Jaegang Kim of South Korea 3-1 to grab the third position in a contest that just over 17 minutes.
Earlier in the day, Khatri, despite suffering a 1-3 defeat at the hands of Kazakhstan’s Taimuraz Tigiyev got a chance to take the bronze home after overcoming Syria’s Alkarrad Raja in the repechage bout, at the Huagong Gymnasium.
The script was different for Tomar (men’s 120kg) as he lost to Kyrgyzstan’s Aiaal Lazarev.
Woman competitor Nirmala, too, lost 1-3 to Zhuldyz Eshimova of Kazakhstan after giving her opponent a scare by winning the second period.
Nirmala was down by a point in the first period but then grabbed four points, including a triple, with some adept grappling in the second. The Kazakh women, however, fought back strongly in the third to go through to the quarter-finals.
Yesterday, Asian champion and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Narsingh Yadav (74kg) made a shocking semi-final exit, while Pradeep Kumar (66kg) and Ram Vir (84kg) also met with a similar fate.
Gunning for their sixth straight gold in men’s kabaddi, title favourites India trounced Japan 52-17 to storm into the final.
The Indian women, however, escaped by the skin of their teeth in the semifinal against Iran and won the thrilling match by one point (23-22) to reach tomorrow’s gold medal clash.
While the men’s team will take on Iran, who shocked Pakistan 17-16 after trailing 4-7 in the other semifinal, Indian eves will face Thailand, who defeated Bangladesh 34-23.