Glasgow, Jul 24: India opened its medal count in CWG with Manipuri girls Sanjita Khumukcham and Mirabai Chanu Saikhom winning the gold and silver, respectively, in the women’s 48kg category of weightlifting competitions at the Clyde Auditorium on Thursday.
The two medals were India’s first from the 2104 Commonwealth Games and they are now third in the medals tally followed by England and Australia. Sanjita had a total lift of 173 kg while Mirabai had 170kg. The bronze went to Nigeria’s Nkechi Opara with a total lift of 162kg.
India are also assured of two more medals as judokas Navjot Chana and Shushila Likmabam made it to the final of their respective categories at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC). India are also in the contention for a bronze medal as Kalpana Thoudam will face Christianne Legentil in the women’s -52kg category.
But it was double delight for India from weightlifting. In snatch, the 20-year-old Sanjita had three good lifts in her three attempts of 72kg, 75kg and 77kg. She survived a scare in her first attempt, 92kg, in the clean and jerk when she failed to lift the weight and the bar almost missed her shin bone. But in her next two attempts she lifted 92kg and 96kg with ease.
Mirabai lifted 72kg in her first attempt in the snatch but then failed in her next attempt for 75kg. The 19-year-old, however, succeeded in lifting 75kg in her third attempt which was a good lift. She had two good lifts of 92kg and 95kg in the clean and jerk but failed in her last attempt for 98kg.
Sanjita’s eyes turned moist as the tricolour was hoisted and the national anthem was played out for the first time in the Games. The Indians had won the silver and the bronze in the same category in the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Ngangbam Soniya Chanu had won silver and Sandhya Rani Devi the bronze.
Meanwhile, 30-year-old Chana and 19-year-old Shushila are on the verge of winning two more gold medals for India. Chana, who is employed with Punjab Police, beat South African Daniel Le Grange in the semi-finals of the men’s -60kg category while Shushila got the better of Australian Chloe Rayner in the semi-final of the women’s -48kg category.
Shushila first beat Cameroon’s Marie Medza Effa in the round of 16 and then got the better of Australian Amy Meyer in the quarterfinal. Chana had beaten Brandon Dodge of Wales in the quarterfinal. Both Chana and Dodge suffered two penalties but the Indian got a ippon and waza-ari to make it to the semi-final. He also had a convincing win over 23-year-old Tom Pappas of Australia in the round of 16.
However, it was the end of road for Manjeet Nandal, who lost his men’s -66kg quarter-final bout to English Colin Oates, who picked up a shido just after the first minute but finished it off with an ippon. It has been an impressive show by Nandal who won both his bouts (round of 32 and 16) in comprehensive fashion. The 24-year-old from Haryana first beat Malta’s Jeremy Saywell by O-Soto-Gari.
Next up, Nandal got the better of Asa Weithers of Barbados. He had a shido in the first minute but also had two waza-ari to seal the bout comprehensively, entering the last eight. Meerut girl Shivani lost her round of 16 match in the -57kg category as she picked up three consecutive shidos against Canada’s Jessica Kimklait.
Indian shuttlers also started their campaign thrashing Ghana 5-0 in Group B of the mixed team event at the Emirates Arena. They next face Uganda later in the day. There was also some embarrassment for India when para-powerlifter Sachin Choudhary had to be pulled out of the Commonwealth 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. He was tested out of competition. Choudhary was a surprise inclusion in the paralympic squad since he was not a medal prospect. 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.