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Advani fetches India’s first gold

 GUANGZHOU, Nov 14 (PTI): Star cueist Pankaj Advani opened India’s gold medal account in the 16th Asian Games by clinching the title in the billiards singles event while the shooters provided a silver and bronze on the second day of competitions here today.

Defending champion Advani kept his reputation intact with a 3-2 victory over Myanmar’s Oo Nay Thway in the billiards final as India boosted their medals tally to one gold, three silver and a bronze. The shooters were again in the spotlight with Heena Siddhu, Annu Raj Singh and Sania Rai clinching the silver in the women’s 10 m air pistol team event and Vijay kumar bagging the bronze in the men’s 10 m air pistol at the Aoti shooting range.

The strong Indian contingent pinned hopes on Advani to fetch the first gold medal for the country after shooter Gagan Narang had to be content with a silver yesterday and the 25-year-old cueist delivered the goods.

The former world professional champion Advani beat Nay Thway with frames of 33-100, 100-61, 12-101, 101-4, 100-45 in the summit clash.

Among other Indians in fray at the Games here, Alok Kumar fought his way to a 7-4 win over Ricky Yang of Indonesia to advance to the semifinals of the men’s 8-ball pool.

However, compatriot Sumit Talwar squandered a 2-frame lead to lose 4-7 to Afrinneza Irsal Nasution in another quarterfinals tie.

After Narang’s exploits on the opening day, the Indian women shooters Heena Sidhu, Annu Raj Singh and Sonia Rai had their moment of glory as they won the silver medal in the 10m Air Pistol team event.

The Indian trio combined to shoot 1140, a point adrift of the gold medallist Korean troika of Yunmi Gim, Byunghee Kim and Lim Ho Lee. Chinese shooters Qi Sun, Jun Wen Guo and Ling Su Yu settled for the bronze medal with a score of 1139.

Heena shot a score of 381, while Annu and Sonia managed scores of 380 and 379 respectively to help India win its third silver in shooting.

Vijay just about made the cut for the finals by finishing eighth in the qualification round but shot the highest score of 101.4 in the medal round for a total of 680.4 to take the bronze.

Lee Daem-Yung of South Korea won the gold with a total of 685.8 while Chinese veteran Tang Zongliang totalled 684.5 for silver.

In table tennis, Indian paddlers put up a good show as both men’s and women’s teams advanced to the quarter-finals.

Making a postive start to the day, the Indian women routed Maldives 3-0 and then Achanta Sharath Kamal starred in men’s 3-1 win over Vietnam in the men’s competition as he won two singles rubbers.

In the women’s event, Mamta Prabhu, Madhurika Patkar and Kumaresan Shamini needed just 30 minutes to win their respective singles rubbers and seal India’s place in the next stage. Patkar routed Mueena Mhamed 11-6, 11-6, 11-7 in just 12 minutes and then Patkar needed just nine minutes to dispose of Fatimatch Jumana Nimal 11-3, 11-4, 11-1.

Shamini sent packing Aminath Shiura Shareef 11-4, 11-4, 11-1 in the third singles. With two wins and a defeat, India finished second in group B with five points. The Indian swimmers continued to disappoint with Rehan Poncha and Virdhawal Khade failing to qualify for the men’s 100m butterfly event.

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