Guwahati, Thursday, October 2, 2014
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Gold for Mary, tears for Sarita

Mary Kom reacts after clinching the gold in Incheon on Wednesday.
 INCHEON, Oct 1 (PTI): MC Mary Kom today became the first Indian woman boxer to clinch a gold medal in the Asian Games as India added three more medals to maintain their 10th position in the overall standings on the 12th day of competitions here today.

 While the seasoned Mary Kom grabbed the limelight with a spectacular performance in the ring, middle-distance runner Tintu Luka fetched a silver and the women’s hockey team earned a bronze on a relatively quiet day for the Indians.

Five-time world champion and Olympic bronze-medallist Mary Kom was the undisputed star of the day as she beat Kazakhstan’s Zhaina Shekerbekova 2-0 to improve on the bronze medal she won in the previous edition of the Games, where women boxers made their debut.

Luka clocked her season’s best to win a silver in the 800m race, while the women’s hockey team defeated Japan 2-1 in the play-off.

With three more medals, India hung on to the 10th spot in the standings, their tally at 49 (seven gold, nine silver and 33 bronze). China continued to rule the roost with a haul of 285 medals, followed by Korea (183) and Japan (154).

Mary Kom, christened ‘Magnificent Mary’ by the International Boxing Association, trailed her rival in the battle of two left-handed boxers in the first round with three ringside judges being swayed towards her rival’s way at the Seonhak boxing gymnasium.

But an undeterred Mary stormed her way back by edging past her rival in round two and then dominated the Kazakh in the last two rounds after one of the judge’s score tied the two at 38-38.

After the close first two rounds, Mary started landing good blows on her rival’s face and even body. A solid right hook followed by a left in the third shook the Kazakh pugilist.

She got a unanimous verdict in the third round and kept her aggressive intent in the fourth to earn the verdict and the coveted gold.

It was the third women’s medal for India from the ring, after the bronze medals won by L Sarita Devi (women’s light weight) and Pooja Rani (women’s middle weight).

In athletics, Luka clocked 1:59.19s to better the bronze medal she had won in this event in the previous edition of the Games in Guangzhou.

The gold was won by Kazakhstan’s Mukasheva Margarita, who broke the two-decade-old Games record of 1:59.85s with a timing of 1:59.02s. The other Indian in fray, Sushma Devi ended fourth with a personal best timing of 2:01.92.

It was women power all the way as the hockey team stunned Japan 2-1 in a keenly-contested match to clinch their third bronze medal at the Games after a hiatus of eight years.

The 13th-ranked Indian eves produced a spirited effort to avenge their 0-1 loss to 10th placed Japan in the bronze medal play-off fours years ago in Guangzhou, China.

Dragflick expert Jaspreet Kaur (23rd minute) and Vandana Kataria (42nd) were the scorers for India, while Japan’s only goal was struck by Akane Shibata in the 41st minute.

Elsewhere, India endured mixed results.

A bronze medal was missed when Sandeep Kumar and Basant Bahadur Rana finished fourth and fifth respectively in the men’s 50km race walk.

Sandeep was well below his best as he finished the race with a timing of 3:59:31s, well below his personal and season’s best effort of 3:56:22s.

The other Indian in the fray, Rana, whose personal best timing is 3:56:48s, was even more disappointing as he clocked 4:07:06s en route to his fifth place finish.

India did not have the best of outings in the taekwondo competitions with Aarti Khakal and Rajan Pandia Anand crashing out in their respective events.

While Aarti lost 8-15 to Ganiya Alzak of Kazakhstan in the round of 32 encounter of women’s 57kg category, Anand was shown the door by Yonghyun Park of Korea 1-7 in the round of 16 of the men’s 80kg category at the Ganghwa Dolmens Gymnasium.

The Indian women’s basketball team finished sixth after losing the 5th-6th position classification match to Kazakhstan 47-68 at the 17th Asian Games here today.

Up against an in-form opposition, the Indians had no answer to Kazakhstan, who led from start to finish at the Hwaseong Sports Complex Gymnasium.

It turned out to be a disappointing outing for the Indians in canoeing and kayaking competitions as none of them could impress.

Ganeshvri Dhurwe and Champa Mourya finished fifth and seventh in kayak single women repechage 1 at the Hanam Misari Canoe/Kayak Center.

Ganeshvri clocked one minute and 28.03 seconds while Champa timed 29.39 seconds to bow out of the event.

In volleyball, India fought hard before bowing out in the quarterfinals of the men’s competition after losing 2-3 against fancied Japan.

The Indian women’s sepaktakraw team finished at the bottom of Regu competition’s Group A after losing its last preliminary match to China here today.

The Indian team went down 9-21 7-21 in 26 minutes to bow out of the competition without managing to secure a single win.

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