INDIA bagged two more gold medals at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games on Tuesday as the women lawn bowls team created history winning their maiden yellow metal. The men’s table tennis team retained the gold medal after a close fight against Singapore on a day where Indian weightlifters continued their superb show with a silver and a bronze medal. Heavyweight lifter Vikas Thakur added yet another Commonwealth Games medal to his kitty, winning a silver in the men’s 96kg.
Harjinder Kaur claimed the bronze medal in the women’s 71kg category.
But the day belonged to Indian women lawn bowls team comprising Lovely Choubey (lead), Pinki (second), Nayanmoni Saikia (third) and Rupa Rani Tirkey (skip), which defeated South Africa 17-10 in the women’s fours final.
It was India’s maiden final appearance in the women’s fours format of the competition.
The Indian team led 8-2 at one stage but the South African team comprising Thabelo Muvhango (lead), Bridget Calitz (second), Esme Kruger (third) and Johanna Snyman (skip) made it 8-8 to spice up the contest.
The Indians though kept their nerves to pull away in the last three rounds.
Later in the day, 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.
World No 121 Harmeet outsmarted 133rd-ranked Zhe Yu Clarence Chew 11-8, 11-5, 11-6 in the third singles.
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 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.