The Indian women’s fours team of Lovely Choubey, Pinki, Nayanmoni Saikia and Rupa Tirkey scripted history by winning the gold medal in lawn bowls at the Commonwealth Games 2022, here on Tuesday.
The Indian team beat South Africa 17-10 in the final to win gold at Victoria Park in Royal Leamington Spa. It was an even start to the final, as India took the lead after the first end but South Africa went ahead after the second. Thereafter, in-form Indian surged ahead to a 8-2 lead by the seventh end. But, it could not score a single point over the next four ends as South Africa roared back into contention, levelling the scores 8-8 after the 10th end.
On the 11th end, India seemed to be ahead with three bowls to go but Nayanmoni Saikia rolled too accurately, hitting the jack, which took it away from the Indian bowls and closer to the South Africans’, which gave them a 10-8 lead.
India were in danger of losing further ground on the 12th end but skip Rupa Tirkey, with her two rolls, managed to push one South African bowl away, which gave India two points and got them level at 10-10.
On the next end, India took a potentially decisive 12-10 lead. With the jack rolling shorter than normal, the bowlers had to measure their rolls accordingly and a South African bowl hit the jack, taking it closer to two Indian bowls.
The 14th end saw India open up a 15-10 lead as South Africa tried, and failed, to get closer to the jack or push any Indian bowls away. The distance between South Africa’s closest bowl and India’s farthest was barely a few centimetres but the Indian bowl was adjudged to be nearer to the jack, giving them three crucial points.
The 15th and final end saw India consistently get closer to the jack and when South Africa’s final bowl missed the jack, it gave India two more points and confirmed a historic gold medal. On the other hand, it was South Africa’s second-consecutive silver medal in the women’s fours at the CWG.
Earlier in the day, the India versus New Zealand rivalry, which began in the women’s fours semifinal, added three more chapters at Birmingham 2022.
The trio of Pinki, Rupa Tirkey and Tania Choudhary beat New Zealand 15-11 in their first sectional match of the women’s triples. However, the Kiwis got back in the women’s pairs as the duo of Lovely Choubey and Nayanmoni Saikia lost 18-9 in their first sectional match.
Mridul Borgohain also began his men’s singles campaign with a 21-8 loss to New Zealand’s Shannon Mcllroy in section D. The women’s triples team will be in action against England later tonight while the men’s fours team will play their first match in lawn bowls at CWG 2022.
India retain men’s team gold in Table Tennis
Birmingham, Aug 2 (PTI): Harmeet Desai raised his game in the decisive singles as the Indian men’s table tennis team retained its Commonwealth Games gold medal after a close fight against Singapore here on Tuesday.
World no. 121 Harmeet outsmarted 133rd-ranked Zhe Yu Clarence Chew 11-8, 11-5, 11-6 in the third singles to ensure India’s third gold men’s team medal in CWG history.
The gold was India’s seventh since the sport’s inception in Manchester 2002
India were expected to beat Singapore but Clarence accounted for veteran Sharath Kamal in the first singles to level the match at 1-1. Harmeet and Sathiyan had little difficulty in getting past Yong Izaak Que and Ye En Koen Pang in the opening doubles.
Sathiyan had given India a 2-1 lead with a 12-10, 7-11, 11-7, 11-4 victory over lower-ranked Pang.
The stand-out performance came from India’s third player, Harmeet.
Sharath had struggled to contain Clarence but Harmeet went on the offensive against the left-hander and ensured that he did not get room to go for his powerful forehand winners. Harmeet’s backhand was also on fire as he won majority of the long rallies. In the first singles, Sharath went down 7-11, 14-12, 3-11,9-11 against Clarence.
Whenever, the Indian placed the ball deep on Clarence’s forehand, the return was a winner.
Two net chords helped Sharath in the second game but Clarence comfortably won the next two.
India had beaten a stronger opponent in Nigeria on Monday with Sharath stunning world number 15 Aruna Quadri. But his loss against a much lower ranked opponent on Tuesday showed rankings did not matter much in a multi sporting event.
India had won the team gold for the first in Melbourne 2006 before repeating the feat in Gold Coast four years ago.
It was also Sharath’s 10th medal in the Games history and he is set to add more with singles and doubles events to follow.