CWG: Day of mixed fortunes for India at Birmingham
New Delhi, July 29, 2022
Indian women lost to Australia in cricket while the girls in blue overpowered Ghana in hockey even as the men’s and women’s table tennis teams and boxer Shiva Thapa got off to positive starts, on day one of competitions at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games (CWG).
India made heavy weather of their opening match as they downed Ghana 5-0, with defender Gurjit Kaur scoring a brace while Sangita Kumari, Salima Tete and Neha chipped with a goal each.
The women's table tennis (TT) team, led by world number 41 Manika Batra, blanked South Africa 3-0. Tennison and Sreeja Akula started the rout beating Danisha Patel and Lailaa Edwards in straight games in the doubles before Manika made short work of Musfiquh Kalam, winning 11-5, 11-3 and 11-2 to give India a 2-0 lead. Sreeja wrapped it up with a convincing straight games victory (11-5, 11-3, 11-6) over Danisha Patel.
The men’s TT team comprising Achanta Sharath Kamal, Sathyan Gnanasekaran and Harmeet Desai blanked Barbados by a 3-0 margin in the best-of-five tie.
In boxing, former World Championship medallist Shiva Thapa defeated Pakistan’s Suleman Baloch by a unanimous 5-0 margin. It was a Round of 32 bout in the 60-63kg (Light Welterweight) category.
In the Mixed Team competition in badminton, India emerged comfortable 5-0 winners in their first Group A game against Pakistan with stars like P. V. Sindhu and Srikanth Kidambi easily winning their singles matches.
In swimming, Srihari Natraj finished third in his heat to qualify for the semi-finals of the men’s 100m backstroke. Two other Indians, Kushagra Rawat (Men’ 400m Freestyle) and Sajan Prakash (Men’s 50m Butterfly), however, finished at the bottom of the pile in their heats.
Disappointment also came India’s way in cricket as the women’s cricket team went down to Australia in a tight T20 game. Batting first, India scored 154/8 riding on a brilliant half-century by skipper Harmanpreet Kaur. The Aussies won the Group A game by three wickets in the end with Ashleigh Gardner playing a blinder (52 n.o. in 35 balls) to see her side through.
In lawn bowls action, Tania Choudhury lost both her round one and round two games as did the Men’s Triples Team of Navneet Singh, Mridul Borgohain and Chandan Kumar Singh. The Men’s Pairs team of Sunil Bahadur and Dinesh Kumar also found the going tough against Malaysia.
In the Cycling Velodrome, the teams in the Men’s 4000m Team Pursuit finished sixth, Women’s Team Sprint seventh and the Men’s Team Sprint ending in sixth position.