Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia, right, in action against J. Joria of MRI in men's freestyle 65 kg at the Commonwealth Games, in Birmingham, England, on Friday, August 5, 2022.
Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia, right, in action against J. Joria of MRI in men's freestyle 65 kg at the Commonwealth Games, in Birmingham, England, on Friday, August 5, 2022.Subir Halder/IANS

CWG India: Wrestlers make four finals, shuttlers, paddlers on winning spree

New Delhi, August 5, 2022

As freestyle wrestling made its debut at the Commonwealth Games, Olympic medallists Sakshi Malik (women’s 62kg) and Bajrang Punia (men’s 65kg) as well as Anshu Malik (women’s 57kg) and Deepak Punia (men’s 86kg) made it through to the finals thereby assuring the country of medals.

Divya Kakran (women’s 68kg) and Mohit Grewal (men’s 125kg) also made it through to the bronze medal match, raising hopes of more medals to come, later on day eight.

The gold won by the lawn bowls women’s quartet seems to have inspired the men as well as Sunil Bahadur, Navneet Singh, Chandan Kumar Singh and Dinesh Kumar defeated Canada’s Robert Law, Greg Wilson, John Bezear and Cameron Lefresne 14-10 in the Men’s Fours quarters to make it to the semis later in the day against England.

However, Lovely Choubey and Nayanmoni Saikia bowed out in the quarter-finals of the women’s pairs competition in lawn bowls. They went down to Sophie Tolchard and Amy Pharaoh of England 14-18.

In table tennis, Sathyan Gnanasekaran pairing up with Manika Batra in the mixed doubles beat Nigerians Olajide Omotayo and Ajoke Ojumu 11-7,11-6,11-7. Then Achanta Sharath Kamal and Sreeja Akula followed them into the last eight with a 5-11, 11-2, 11-6, 11-5 win over Malaysians Chee Feng Leong and Ying Ho.

Sathyan entered the round of 16 of the singles after a hard-fought 11-9, 11-9, 12-10, 13-11 victory against Northern Irishman Paul McCreery, although the 4-0 result might make one think otherwise. Sathyan was behind in every game of the match and saved four game points in the final game to win the best of seven contest.

It was a mixed bag in the women’s singles Round of 16 with Sreeja Akula moving into the quarters, coming out the winner in a seesaw battle against Charlotte Carey of Wales with the match lasting the entire seven games. Sreeja prevailed 8-11, 11-7, 12-14, 9-11, 11-4, 15-13 and 12-10.

Manika Batra beat Jee Minhyung of Australia 11-4, 11-8, 11-6, 12-10 in her quarter-final match.

However, Reeth Tennison went down to Feng Tianwei of Singapore 1-4 (2-11, 4-11, 11-9, 3-11 and 4-11).

In the men’s doubles, Harmeet Desai and Sanil Shetty won their Round of 16 match 11-3, 9-11, 11-9 and 11-7 against the Aussie pair of Xin Yan and Dillon Chambers.

Sharath and Sathyan joined them in the quarters after that with a facile 11-6, 11-1, 11-4 win over Bangladesh’s Ridoy Ahmed and Ramhimlian Bawm.

Manika then won her women’s doubles Round of 32 match along with Diya Chitale with a 3-0 win over Trinidadian pair Catherine Spicer and Rheann Chung. The scores read 11-5, 11-7 and 11-2.

Sharath beat Aussie Luu Finn 12-10, 11-8, 11-7, 11-6. Sanil Shetty defeated Ghanian Derek Abrefa 12-10, 14-12, 11-4 and 11-5.

In a Para Table Tennis men’s singles Classes 3-5 semi-final game, however, Indian Raj Aravindan Alagar went down to Nasiru Sule of Nigeria 11-7, 8-11, 4-11 and 7-11.

So did Sonalben Patel in the women’s singles Classes 3-5 semi-final, to another Nigerian Christiana Ikpeoyi. The Indian won the first game 11-8 but lost the next three 6-11, 4-11, 7-11.

Bhavina Patel in the same women’s singles Classes 3-5 discipline however made the title round with a 11-6, 11-6, 11-6 win over Sue Bailey of England.

P V Sindhu
P V SindhuSubir Halder/IANS

On the athletics track, the Men’s 4x400m relay quartet of Noah Nirmal, Amol Jacob, Md. Anas and Md. Ajmal made it through to the final with a second-place finish in their heat-2. Their timing of 3:06:97 was behind Kenya’s 3:06:76.

In badminton, Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand moved into the quarters of the women’s doubles with a 21-2, 21-4 victory over Mauritania’s Ganesha Mungrah and Jemimah Leung For Sang.

Srikanth Kidambi also had an easy outing in the men’s singles Round of 16, beating Sri Lankan Dumindu Abeywickrama 21-9, 21-12 as did P. V. Sindhu over Ugandan Husina Kobugabe with a 21-10, 21-9 win.


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