New Delhi: The fierce battle for gaining the second spot in the Commonwealth Games continued in earnest between India and England on the seventh day of competitions with the hosts edging in front by bagging four gold medals.
Teenage archer Deepika Kumari upset an Olympic bronze medallist to win the recurve gold, Harpreet Singh clinched the 25m centre fire pistol gold, archer Rahul Banerjee grabbed the men’s individual recurve gold and world wrestling champion Sushil Kumar won the 66kg title by destroying all his rivals.
Vijay Kumar bagged silver behind Harpreet, freestyle wrestler Anuj Kumar also got a silver in men’s 84 kg, trap shooter Manavjit Singh Sandhu secured a bronze while Jayanta Talukdar finished third behind Banerjee.
Sania Mirza and Rushmi Chakravarthi beat compatriots Nirupama Sanjeev and Poojashree Venkatesh to secure the women’s doubles bronze in tennis and swell India’s medal kitty.
Banerjee’s sister Dola finished third in women’s recurve and grappler Anil Kumar got the bronze in 55kg freestyle as India came up with another impressive display to jump over England and regain the second spot behind leader Australia.
Asian silver medallist Jai Bhagwan (60kg) and nine-time national champion Dilbag Singh assured India of two more boxing medals but defending champion Akhil Kumar made a shock exit in the Games by advancing to the semifinals on Sunday.
Jai, a Commonwealth Championship gold-medallist, blanked Waheed Sogbamu of Nigeria 10-0, while Dilbag (69 kg) thrashed Botswana’s Moabi Mothiba 11-3 in while Akhil Kumar bowed out after losing to Olympic bronze medallist Bruno Julie of Mauritius in the 56 kg quarterfinals.
The two boxers joined Amandeep Singh (49kg) and Suranjoy Singh (52kg), who won their quarterfinal bouts on Saturday, in assuring themselves of their maiden CWG medals.
The haul of four gold, two silver and five bronze medals took the Indian tally to 28-19-22 while England were once again made to play catch-up with a haul of 25-45-29. Australia were far ahead with 57-33-35.
India were also just three gold medals short of overhauling their best ever harvest of 30 at the Manchester Games in 2002 when three gold medals were awarded for each weight class, a practice that has been discontinued since.
The day opened with 17-year-old Ranchi-born Deepika, daughter of an autorickshaw owner, stunning 2004 Athens Olympics bronze medallist Alison James Williamson 6-0, showing amazing precision and steady nerves in windy conditions to win her second gold at the Games.