Guangzhou : World champion cueist Pankaj Advani gave India its first gold medal of the 16th Asian Games while shooters added a silver and bronze on the second day of competition here Sunday.
Advani retained his title, going past Myanmar’s OO Nay Thway Oo 3-2 in the English billiards singles final. The Bangalorean, who earlier in the day defeated another Myanmarese OO Kyaw Oo for a spot in the final, lost the opening frame but regained his touch in time to win 33-100, 100-61, 12-101, 101-4, 100-45.
India began the day with Vijay Kumar winning the bronze in the men’s 10 metres air pistol event before the trio of Heena Sidhu, Annu Raj Singh and Sonia Rai shot silver in the women’s 10 metres air pistol event at the Aoti Shooting Range.
Vijay, who won three gold medals in the Delhi Commonwealth Games, scored 680.4 points (579+101.4).
In the team event, Vijay (579), Gurpreet Singh (573) and Omkar Singh (568) shot 1,720 to finish fourth. Only Vijay made the cut for the finals at eighth position and secured the medal.
South Korean Lee Dae-Myung (685.8) won the individual gold while Chinese Tan Zonglian (684.5) the silver.
South Korea also won the team gold with Dae-myung (585), Jin Jongoh (581) and Lee Sangdo (580) scoring 1,746 points. Chinese Zongliang (585), Pu Qifeng (580) and Pang Wei (578) shot 1,743 for the silver. Japan’s Tomoyuki Matsuda (577), Kojiro Horimizu (575) and Susumu Kobayashi (572) totalled 1,724 to grab the bronze.
The trio of Henna (381), Annu Raj (380) and Sonia (379) shot a total of 1,140 and lost the gold medal race by a point, beaten by South Korean Yunmi Gim (383), Byunghee Kim (379) and Ho Lim Lee (379), who logged 1,141 points. The Chinese team of Sun Qi (385), Guo Wen Jun (382) and Su Yu Ling (372) settled for bronze with 1,139 points.
Despite finishing on the podium in the team event, none of the Indian girls qualified for the final of the individual round. Heena, a gold medallist in the Delhi Commonwealth Games, lost in the shoot-off after she was tied with two other shooters for the eighth place with 381 points.
Advani then showed his class and defeated Thway in a thrilling contest.
Thway, who downed legendary Singaporean Peter Gilchrist in the semifinal, bounced back to win the third frame 101-12 and took a 2-1 lead.
Advani, the 2008 World Billiards Champion, had earlier expressed reservations about the shortened format and said “there is no room for mistakes and the format comes across like 10-over cricket where anything can happen”. And he did just that in the remaining two frames.
After losing the first frame, the 25-year-old produced a flawless game to clinch the issue.
Alok Kumar also brought good news by entering the semifinals of the men’s 8-ball pool singles. He defeated Indonesian Ricky Yang 3-2 in the quarter-finals. Alok now plays Po-Cheng Kuo for a place in the finals.
In tennis, Somdev Devvarman and Sanam Singh won their singles matches against Thailand to take India to the semifinal of the men’s team event with a 2-1 victory.
Sanam dispatched Kittiphong Wachiramanowong 6-1, 6-4 in the first rubber and then Somdev, world no.106 and Commonwealth gold medallist, sealed the issue for India after carving out a fighting 7-5, 7-5 victory over 464th-ranked Danai Udomchoke.
Vishnu Vardhan and Karan Rastogi, however, lost to Sanchai and Sonchat Ratiwatana 6-3, 3-6, 2-6 in the doubles match. India, seeded fourth, next play top seeds Chinese Taipei.
In table tennis, the men’s and women’s teams stormed into the quarterfinals. The men beat Vietnam 3-1 and are now up against Japan, while the women dispatched the Maldives 3-0 to face China in the last eight stage.