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Tuesday, 26 September 2023 | PTI | Hangzhou


In a stunning display of skill, the Indian women’s cricket team secured victory over Sri Lanka, claiming the gold medal in Asian Games 2023 in Hangzhou in China on Monday. In another remarkable feat, India not only set a new world record but also secured the gold in the men’s 10 air rifle team event on Day 2 of the Asian Games.

Rookie pacer Titas Sadhu singlehandedly earned a gold medal for the Indian women’s cricket team in its maiden appearance as it defeated Sri Lanka by 19 runs in a low-scoring final of the Asian Games here on Monday.

On a pitch difficult for batting, the Indian women’s team struggled to 116 for seven but it was just about par score.

However Titas, who is just four days shy of her 19th birthday, bowled a devastating first spell and finished with superb figures of 4-1-6-3 to play a big role in restricting Sri Lanka to 97 for eight in 20 overs.

She had an able ally in leg-spinner Devika Vaidya (4-0-15-1), who kept a tight leash on the islanders.

Left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad (3-0-20-2) and off-spinner Deepti Sharma (4-0-25-1) started off badly but were on target during the back-end as Indian women always looked in complete control.

This was one gold medal that India were expected to win, but the standard of cricket was pretty poor, and the nature of wicket didn’t help matters.

Teenage pace sensation Sadhu on Monday said “staying calm” and “playing according to the plan” devised during mid-innings was key to winning the gold medal in their maiden Asian Games appearance, despite posting a below-par total on the board in the final here on Sunday.

“We all had a clear plan of what we had to do. Obviously, we got a good momentum in the first over itself. We had discussed during the innings break that we will keep calm and stick to what we had decided,” said Sadhu, who returned with impressive figures of 3 for 6 from her four overs.

“The way we came back into the match showed exactly that,” she added.

The 18-year-old right-arm medium pacer from Bengal was delighted to win the gold for the country in the continental showpiece.

“It was a great opportunity we got this time, and the fact that we were able to grab that opportunity, I’m very glad and grateful,” Sadhu said.

In shooting, Indian shooters made a telling statement at the Asian Games, winning three medals, including a team gold, as the country’s marksmen asserted their class by grabbing five podium finishes in just two days of competition here.

A confident Indian 10m air rifle team led by teenage world champion Rudrankksh Patil gave the country its first gold medal at the continental Games, securing the top place on the podium with a world record score on Monday.

Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar then earned the country an individual bronze —India’s fourth in shooting so far — in the event after a keen duel with compatriot Rudrankksh, who finished fourth.

The 25m rapid-fire team, comprising Adarsh Singh, Anish Bhanwala and Vijayveer Sidhu, took the third spot with an aggregate score of 1718 after a tie with Indonesia.

China took the gold with a score of 1765, while South Korea bagged silver, aggregating 1734.

The trio of Rudrankksh, Olympian Divyansh Singh Panwar and Aishwary aggregated 1893.7 in the qualification round to beat back the challenge of the shooting powerhouse China and South Korea on way to the 10m air rifle team gold.

In one of the most dominating displays seen by Indian air rifle shooters in multi-discipline events, the 19-year-old Rudrankksh shot a superb 632.5, Tomar 631.6 and Panwar 629.6 to aggregate the world record score as South Korea was pushed to second spot (1890.1), while the

Chinese team was a distant third with an aggregate score of 1888.2.

Meanwhile, Naorem Roshibina Devi qualified for the semi-finals in the Women’s 60 kg Wushu (Sanda) to assure India of another medal in the Asian Games, here on Monday.

She outplayed her opening opponent in the quarterfinal, Aiman Karshyga of Kazakhstan, convincingly through points difference.

Roshibina Devi had won the bronze medal at the last Asian Games in the same category. Notably, she was a gold medallist in the same category at the 2019 South Asian Games.

In the men’s section, Surya Bhanu Partap Singh reached quarterfinals after winning his pre-quarters bout against Islombek Khaydarov of Uzbekistan in the 60kg category in Sanda.

His bout lasted three rounds as the Indian prevailed 2-1. Partap, also a bronze medallist from the previous edition of the Asian Games, has won a couple of medals of the same colour in the World Wushu Championships.

He also won the gold medal in the 2016 South Asian Games. In the final men’s bout of the day in the 65 kg category, Vikrant Baliyan was knocked out in the pre-quarters by Samuel Marbun of Indonesia by a 1-2 margin.

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