Gold Coast: The Indian women's table tennis team clinched a maiden gold, while Punam Yadav and Vikas Thakur continued winning in the weightlifting events and shooters Manu Bhaker, Heena Sidhu and Ravi Kumar bagged medals as the country took its medal tally to 15 on the fourth day of the 21st Commonwealth Games (CWG) here on Sunday.
Singles star Manika Batra won two matches as the women's table tennis outplayed highly-fancied Singapore 3-1 to win an elusive gold medal, while veteran boxer M.C. Mary Kom and the mixed badminton team assured the country at least of a bronze and a silver respectively. The highly successful day -- which saw both the men's and the women's hockey teams earn crucial victories -- was started by Bhaker and Sidhu, who won the gold and silver medals the women's 10m Air Pistol event respectively.
Haryana's 16-year-old Bhaker produced a spectacular performance, setting a new CWG record with a total of 240.9 points in the final round. Her performance at the debut was 6.9 points better than experienced compatriot Sidhu, who registered 234 points for her first medal at the CWG. Ravi's bronze medal in the 10 metre air rifle event ensured that India bag its third medal on the opening day of the shooting competitions here. He shot a total of 224.1.
Saniya Sheikh narrowly missed a bronze medal after finishing fourth in women's skeet shooting competition. Then the weightlifters took charge, with Punam (69kg) and Vikas Thakur (94kg) winning gold and bronze medals respectively. Punam lifted a total of 222 kg which included 100 kg in snatch and 122 kg in clean and jerk. England's Sarah Davies took silver with 217 kg, while Apolonia Vaivai of Fiji lifted 216 kg for the bronze.
The 22-year-old Punam from Vanarasi joined fellow weightlifters Mirabai Chanu, Sanjita Chanu, Sathish Sivalingam and Venkat Rahul Ragala in clinching gold medals here. Vikas registered a total of 351 kg which included 159 kg in snatch and 192 kg in clean and jerk. The third Indian weightlifter in the day, Seema finished sixth in the women's 75kg, lifting a total of 189kg -- 84kg in snatch and 105 kg in clean and jerk.
After Sunday, India has eight medals from the weightlifting competitions. Punam's gold also meant that the country has five gold medals in an edition of the CWG for the first time. Out of these medal-winning performances, the triumph of the table tennis women stands out. Singapore came into this match as the defending champions and have won the event at every edition since it was first introduced in 2002 while India's best display was a runner-up finish in Delhi in 2010.
In the first rubber, World No.58 Batra upset World No.4 Tianwei Feng 3-2 (11-8, 8-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-7) to take the 1-0 lead. Mengyu Yu outplayed Madhurika Patkar (3-0) 13-11, 11-2, 11-6 to equalise 1-1. The doubles pair of Mouma Das and Patkar defeated Mengyu and Yihan 3-1 (11-7, 11-6, 8-11, 11-7) to hand India a 2-1 crucial advantage. Batra then outplayed Yihan (3-0) 11-7, 11-4, 11-7 to seal the historic win that helped India maintained their fourth spot in the medal tally, behind Australia (81 medals), England (47 medals) and Canada (32 medals).
The success also rubbed on the badminton team, which assured at least of a silver medal by reaching the final after defeating Singapore 3-1. World No.2 Kidambi Srikanth, London Olympics medallist Saina Nehwal and the mixed doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy all won to seal India's passage to the final where they will meet Malaysia on Monday. Also assuring at least a medal was five-time world champion Kom, who registered a convincing 5-0 victory over Megan Gordon of Scotland in a 48kg quarter-final.
World Championship bronze medallist Vikas Krishan entered the quarter-finals of the men's middleweight (75 kilogram) category with a hard fought victory over Campbell Somerville of Australia. But there was disappointment in store for Indian fans in the women's 69 kilogram category as Lovlina Borgohain lost to England's Sandy Ryan by split decision.
In pool stage hockey action, the India's men's and women's hockey teams defeated Wales (4-3) and England (2-1) respectively to brighten their chances to making it to the semi-finals. S.V. Sunil's late goal helped the men's team overcome a lower-ranked Wales, who rode on drag-flicker Gareth Furlong's hat-trick to stun the Asian champions.
In the women's match, England skipper Alexandra Danson scored in the opening minute. India hit back through Navneet Kaur (42nd minute) and Gurjit Kaur (48th) in the second half to claim a hard-fought win. In athletics, Khushbir Kaur finished a distant fourth in the women's 20 kilometre race walk with a time of 1 hour, 39 minutes and 21 seconds. In the men's race walk, Manish Singh (1 hour, 22 minutes and 22 second) and K.T. Irfan (1:27:34) finished sixth and 13th respectively.
Tejinder Singh qualified for the men's shot put final with an attempt of 19.10 metres. In artistic gymnastics, Rakesh Patra finished a disappointing last in the eight-men rings final with a score of 12.933, while Pranati Nayak finished a disappointing eighth in the women's vault final with a score of 11.983. In swimming, Sajan Prakash finished 10th in the semi-finals of the men's 100 metre butterfly.
The poor performances of the basketball teams continued as they suffered their third consecutive group stage match losses to exit the Games without a win. The Indian men lost to Scotland 81-96 while the women lost their third group stage match to New Zealand 55-90. Meanhile, Indian cyclists Aleena Reji and Deborah Herold crashed out of women's Keirin first round repechage qualifiers.