NEW DELHI: India’s weightlifting contingent has extended its superb showing at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, with Khumukcham Sanjita Chanu winning gold in the women’s 53kg event and teenaged debutant Deepak Lather claiming bronze in the men’s 69kg event.
Back at the venue where last year she won gold in the Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships, the 24-year-old Sanjita broke the existing CWG record with a lift of 84kg in the snatch category and then lifted 108 in the clean & jerk to finish with a combined effort of 192kg. A few hours later, also at the Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre on Friday, Lather delivered India its fourth medal of the Games.
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In his first appearance at the quadrennial games, the 18-year-old from the village of Shadipur in Haryana – who was once enrolled at Pune’s Army Sports Institute as a diver – finished with a combined effort of 295kg (136 in snatch and 159 in clean & jerk).
While Sanjita and Lather secured medals, the only blip in weightlifting for India came through Saraswati Rout, who was eliminated from the women’s 58kg-event after failing in all her three 78kg Snatch attempts.
The other good news for India came in the form of young boxer Naman Tanwar, who defeated Tanzania’s Haruna Mhandoby a unanimous verdict (30-26, 30-25, 30-26, 30-24, 30-24) to progress into the men’s 91kg quarter-finals. His compatriot Amit Phangal too booked a place in the quarterfinals of the 49kg event win a dominating win over Ghana’s Tetteh Sulemanu, again by a unanimous verdict (30-26, 30-26, 30-27, 30-27 and 30-25).
In other good news, the Indian women’s hockey team beat Malaysia 4-1 to register their first win of the competition, bouncing back from a shock defeat to Wales on Day 1. Gurjit Kaur was the scorer of the first two goals, the first one early on via a fine drag-flick and the second in the third quarter, not long after Malaysia had equalised. Goals to captain Rani Rampal and Lalremsiami in the final minutes completed a 4-1 win at the Gold Coast Hockey Centre.
In the badminton mixed team event (group A), India continued its unbeaten run by defeating Scotland 5-0. In the women’s singles, Saina Nehwal beat Julie MacPherson 21-14, 21-12 and then in the men’s event, current World No 2 Kidambi Srikanth got the better of Kieran Merrilees 21-18, 21-2 (at the break, Srikanth led 17-0). The women’s doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy beat Kirsty Gilmour and Eleanor O’Donnell 21-8, 21-12, the men’s doubles duo of Satwik Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty overcame Patrick MacHugh and Adam Hall 21-16, 21-19 and lastly, in the mixed doubles the combination of Pranaav Chopra and Sikki Reddy triumphed 21-17, 21-15 over MacPherson and Martin Campbell.
However, there was disappointment at the Oxenford Studios, where the last of India’s male squash players, Vikram Malhotra, lost to England’s Nick Matthew 6-11, 11-8, 6-11, 6-11. Malhotra, who on day one won both his matches while the more fancied third seeded Saurav Ghoshal and Harinder Pal Sindhu were eliminated, lost the first, third and fourth games to exit the competition. In the women’s round of 16 event, Joshna Chinappa dished out a dominating performance and booked herself a place in the Q/F with a 11-6, 11-8, 11-4 win against Australia’s Tamika Saxby. However, her compatriot Dipika Pallikal suffered a heartbreak by enduring a straight-game loss to England’s Alison Waters. She went down 3-11, 6-11 and 2-11.