Led by Olympic bronze medallist Vijender Singh, Indian pugilists stole the limelight on the ninth day of the competitions with four of them assuring silver medals for India while paddlers Achanta Sharath Kamal and Anthony Amalraj bagged a silver in the men's doubles event of the 20th Commonwealth Games here.
Star boxer Vijender produced yet another dominating performance against Connor Coyle of Northern Ireland in the men's middleweight (75kg) in an unanimous 3-0 verdict by the judges to book a place in the final and lead an Indian charge on the penultimate day of boxing competitions yesterday. Mandeep Jangra (men's 69kg), Laishram Devendro Singh (men's 46-49kg) and L Sarita Devi (women's 57- 60kg) also boxed their way to the finals while Pinki Rani (women's 51kg) lost her semifinal bout to settle for a bronze.
Female discuss thrower Seema Punia also bagged a silver for India while defending champion Krishna Poonia finished a disappointing fifth. Seema, who had won a bronze in 2010 Delhi Games and a silver in 2006 Melbourne, threw the discus to 61.61m, her season's best, to grab the silver late last night while a struggling Krishna could just come up with a below-par effort of 57.84m.
Later in the day, Sharath and Amalraj lost to Singapore's Ning Gao and Hu Li in the final of the men's doubles table tennis event to settle for a silver.
By virtue of these medals, India have consolidated its fifth spot in the standings with 51 medals (13 gold, 23 silver, 15 bronze). England lead the chart (140 medals), followed by Australia (124), Canada (75) and hosts Scotland (49).
It all started with women's boxing competition where experienced Sarita Devi outpunched her Mozambique opponent Maria Machongua to storm into the final of the 60kg category. Earlier in the day, another Indian pugilist Pinki lost a close semifinal bout against Michaela Walsh of Northern Ireland to settle for a bronze medal in women's 51kg category. Pinki, who had beaten Olympic bronze medallist Mary Kom in the national trials to make it to the Indian boxing squad, gave a valiant fight but could not pack enough punch against a taller opponent.
Mandeep, on the other hand, fought his way back in a remarkable fashion after trailing in the first two rounds of his semifinal bout against Steven Donnelley of Northern Ireland. Mandeep was trailing at the end of the first round with the three judges giving identical 10-9 scores in favour of the Irishman. The Indian recovered a bit in the second round with two judges giving 10-9 scores in his favour. Mandeep, however, stormed back in a fine fashion in the final round with the three judges giving identical 10-9 scores in his favour to win the semifinal bout in a split 2-1 verdict.
In the men's lightfly weight (46-49kg) category, Devendro played true to his aggressive self as he outclassed Ashley Williams of Wales in a thrilling contest to book a place in the final. 22-year-old Devendro won a 3-0 unanimous verdict against his opponent in a bout which kept the packed crowd on the edge of their seats.
Meanwhile, India witnessed success on the table tennis board as well with Sharath and Amalraj securing the first medal for the paddlers in the ongoing Glasgow Games. Sharath and Amalraj squandered a game lead to lose 1-3 (11-8 7-11 9-11 5-11) against the Singaporean duo in the final.
Sharath continued his fine showing and also made it to the semifinals of the men's singles event. Sharath humbled England's Paul Drinkhall 4-1 to enter the last four round. Sharath comfortably beat Drinkhall 11-7 11-6 12-10 9-11 11-6 in the best-of-seven quarterfinal encounter that lasted just 43 minutes. However, it was curtains for another Indian Soumyajit Ghosh in the men's singles quarterfinals as he lost to England's Liam Pitchford 4-2.
In badminton, India's medal aspirants P V Sindhu and Parupalli Kashyap notched up straight-game wins in the women's and men's singles event to storm into the semifinals. World No. 11 Sindhu didn't break any sweat as she brushed aside New Zealand's Anna Rankin 21-10 21-9 in a 24-minute match while Kashyap, ranked 22, thrashed Daren Liew 21-13 21-14 in a match that lasted 38 minutes.
Sindhu, the world championship bronze medallist, will next take on Canada's Michelle Li, while Delhi Games bronze winner Kashyap will meet Rajiv Ouseph of England at the Emirates Arena.
R M V Gurusaidutt followed on compatriot Kashyap's footsteps and also qualified for the semifinals of the men's singles event with a hard-fought 21-15 8-21 21-17 win over Chong Wei Feng of Malaysia. Gurusaidutt will next face Derek Wong of Singapore in the last four round. Wong beat another Indian Kidambi Srikanth 21-10 12-21 21-12 in another quarterfinal that lasted exactly 50 minutes.
However, promising shuttler P C Thulasi crashed out in the quarterfinals of the women's singles event after losing 21-18 19-21 19-21 against Malaysia's Jing Yi Tee.
It was good news for India in the women's doubles event as well as defending champions Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa stormed into the semifinals with a comfortable 21-10 21-9 win over Sri Lankan pair of Achini Rathnasiri and Upuli Weerasinghe.
On the hockey turf, Indian women's team secured a hard-fought 2-1 win over hosts Scotland to finish a disappointing fifth.
However, it w as disappointment for Indian gymnast Ashish Kumar as he finished last in the men's vault final due to a fall on the mat. Ashish had won silver in vault and bronze in floor event in 2010 Delhi CWG to become the first Indian gymnast to win a medal in the Commonwealth Games but failed to repeat his feat.
Ashish, who had finished sixth in the floor event final yesterday, ended his campaign on a faulty note after he failed to land on his feet in his second vault.
India also missed out on a historic bronze medal in the lawn bowl men's fours team event after the quartet of Kamal Kumar Sharma, Chandan Kumar Singh, Samit Malhotra and Dinesh Kumar squandered a huge lead midway to lose to Australia in the third-place encounter.
Meanwhile, apart from the women's doubles pair of Dipika Pallikal and Joshna Chinappa, it turned out to be a rather disappointing day at office for Indian squash players. Pallikal and Chinappa assured at least a silver medal by entering the final of the women's doubles event. Pallikal and Chinappa beat Australian combination of Kasey Brown and Rachael Grinham 2-1 (11-9 7-11 11-4) to seal their place in the gold medal match, where they will face English pair of Jenny Duncalf and Laura Massaro.
But Saurav Ghosal and Pallikal crashed out of the mixed double event after being easily beaten 2-0 (11-6 11-9) in the quarterfinals by Australia's David Palmer and Rachael Grinham
Another Indian mixed doubles pair of Harinder Pal Sandhu and Chinappa also bowed out in the quarterfinals after losing a hard-fought 11-7 8-11 6-11 battle against second-seeded New Zealand pair of Martin Knight and Joelle King.