Glasgow :If India’s female weightlifters showed their power with a gold and silver to open medal count at the Commonwealth Games, men accepted the challenge and reciprocated with a gold and bronze. And with judokas adding one silver and a bronze, the tally swelled to seven and made Thursday a memorable day.
India’s men and women weightlifters hunted in pairs. Khumukcham Sanjita Chanu and Saikhom Mirabai Chanu bagged a gold and silver in the women’s 48 kg weight category and later in the evening Sukhen Dey took the 56 kg gold and Ganesh Mali the bronze to restore India’s pride in a sport in which their drug record had been abominable.
Four years ago at home, India started with only two silver and two bronze medals on the opening day, even though they were second in the medals tally.
India’s woman power was truly to the fore as Judoka Shushila Likmabam logged in a silver medal in the 48 kg category, though she lost to Kimberley Renicks, who gave hosts Scotland their first goal in the Games.
To balance it, Judoka Navjot Chana brought another silver, conceding the 60 kg gold to England’s Ashley McKenzie at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC).
The third medal came when Kalpana Thoudam won the bronze in the women’s 52 kg category, beating Christianne Legentil of Mauritius.
With two gold, three silver and two bronze, India are now fourth in the medals tally behind England, Australia and hosts Scotland.
India put their name in the medal board thanks to Manipuri girls Sanjita and Mirabai who finished on the first and second position in the women’s 48 kg category at the Clyde Auditorium. Sanjita had a total lift of 173 kg while Mirabai managed a haul of 170 kg.
In snatch, the 20-year-old Sanjita had three good lifts in her three attempts of 72 kg, 75 kg and 77 kg. She survived a scare in her first attempt, 92 kg, in the clean and jerk when she failed to lift the weight and the bar almost missed her chin bone. But in her next two attempts, she lifted 92 kg and 96 kg with ease.
Mirabai lifted 72 kg in her first attempt in the snatch, but then failed in her next attempt for 75 kg. The 19-year-old, however, succeeded in lifting 75 kg in her third attempt which was a good lift. She had two good lifts of 92 kg and 95 kg in the clean and jerk but failed in her last attempt for 98 kg.
Sanjita’s eyes turned moist as the tricolour was hoisted and the national anthem played out for the first time at the Games.
Dey, a silver medallist at the last Games in New Delhi four years ago, lifted a total of 248 kg (109 kg in snatch, 139 in clean and jerk), which is four kilos less than what he resisted in Delhi and as much as the bronze medallist Srinivasa Rao achieved.
Mali lifted a total of 244 kg (111 kg in snatch, 133 in clean and jerk) while Malaysia’s Z Pisol (108+137) took silver with a total of 245 kg.
Chana, who is employed with Punjab Police, beat South African Daniel Le Grange in the semi-finals while Shushila got the better of Australian Chloe Rayner in the semi-final of the women’s 48 kg category.
However, it was the end of the road for other judokas. Manjeet Nandal lost his men’s 66 kg quarter-final bout to English Colin Oates while Meerut girl Shivani lost her round of 16 match in the 57 kg category as she picked up three consecutive shidos against Canada’s Jessica Kimklait.
Indian shuttlers also started their campaign blanking Ghana and Uganda 5-0 in Group B of the mixed team event at the Emirates Arena.
In squash, Joshna Chinappa made it to the Round of 16 in the women’s category while her compatriots Anaka Alankamony and Mahesh Mangaonkar lost their matches in the Round of 32.
The Indian women’s hockey team also started their campaign on a winning note beating Canada 4-2. India will next take on New Zealand Sunday at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre.
In table tennis, the women’s team won their group games against Barbados and Nigeria while the men’s team beat Vanuatu comprehensively in their group match. But landing the country into disrepute, para-powerlifter Sachin Choudhary had to be pulled out of the Games and sent back home for failing a drug test conducted by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) last month.
Choudhary quietly left Glasgow for India citing his father’s ill-health even as his doping report was made public.
PCI secretary general J. Chandrasekhar told IANS that Choudhary has indeed failed a dope test and the national body was seriously taking up the issue.
“We have got the news that Sachin has tested positive in an out-of-competition dope test conducted by the National Anti-Doping Agency. We are seriously taking up the matter and will take strict action against him,” he said.