Pistol shooter Heena Sidhu shone the brightest with a gold and a Games record, while para-powerlifter Sachin Chaudhary put behind a dope-tainted past to claim a surprise bronze as the Indian juggernaut slowed down a bit after five days of gold rush at the Commonwealth Games. With weightlifters through with their campaign, wrestlers yet to take off and boxers only getting into medal rounds, the number of medals were not too many to show on Day Six of the games.
However, India held on to their third spot in the overall tally, behind hosts Australia and England. The Indian contingent has so far collected 11 gold, four silver, and six bronze medals.
The ranges at Belmont Shooting Centre in Brisbane were expecting to boom with strong Indian performances but it wasn't a particularly great start as Gagan Narang and Chain Singh finished outside the medal bracket in the 50m rifle prone event. However, Sidhu made up for it to an extent by shooting down the gold as well as the games record in the women's 25m pistol event.
At the Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre, Chaudhary gave India their only other medal of the day in para powerlifting with an effort of 181kg in the men's heavyweight final. The medal was a redemption of sorts for Chaudhary, who was banned for two years after failing a dope test in 2014. He had tested positive for the anabolic steroid methandienone and testosterone abuse in June that year. Without dwelling on his past, the lifter merely said he expects the medal to change things for good for him. "In India, the Commonwealth Games is regarded as one of the most prestigious sporting events. This is a life-changing moment for me," he said.
It was a brilliant day for the boxers at the Oxenford Studios, where all five in action assured themselves of medals by advancing to the semi-finals. Among them was veteran Manoj Kumar (69kg), a gold-medallist from the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. Joining him were a bunch of debutants -- Amit Panghal (49kg), Mohammed Hussamuddin (56kg), the 19-year-old Naman Tanwar (91kg), and former Asian Games bronze-medallist Satish Kumar (+91kg).
Here are the top 10 developments regarding the Indian contingent's performance on Day 6 of the Gold Coast CWG 2018:
1) India at third spot at CWG 18: India are now standing at the third spot at the 21st Commonwealth Games with 21 medals, including 11 gold, four silver, and six bronze medals.
2) Heena Sidhu adds third gold to India's shooting kitty at CWG 18: Heena Sidhu picked up India's third gold medal in shooting at the ongoing Commonwealth Games, finishing on top in the women's 25m pistol event and also breaking a Games record in the process today. The 28-year-old Sidhu shot a final score of 38, two of the series being perfect fives, to claim the top honours ahead of Australian Elena Galiabovitch (35). The bronze medal went to Malaysia's Alia Azahari (26).
This was Sidhu's second medal at the ongoing Games after having claimed a silver in the 10m air pistol event behind 16-year-old compatriot Manu Bhaker. Incidentally, this is her first major medal in the 25m pistol event with most of her other podium finishes being in 10m air pistol. "I am exhausted, those are my thoughts on today's performance," Sidhu quipped while speaking to news agency PTI after her gold.
Sidhu was in terrific form after qualifying third with a score of 579 despite admitting to struggling with her trigger finger owing to a nerve problem. "Thankfully, my trigger which has been giving me some trouble because of a tingling sensation was alright today. I didn't feel that tingling too much," Sidhu said. "The 10m air pistol final is a blur to me, I couldn't feel my fingers during that. I have been undergoing physiotherapy for this problem but for today, I told my physio not to touch me. I just let it be and to my relief it went off well," she said.
Annuraj Singh finished sixth after being eliminated in the second stage of the same event. Her final score was 15.
Click here for the shooting roundup at CWG 2018: Heena strikes 25m pistol gold; Annu, Chain, Narang falter (Shooting Roundup)
3) Indian squash players taste success at CWG 18: Day 6 of the Commonwealth Games saw a satisfactory outing for India at the squash events as all the three pairs came out victorious in their respective matches. In the mixed doubles event, Dipika Pallikal and Saurav Ghosal registered comfortable victories against Guyana and Pakistan to advance to the Round of 16. In their first game, Dipaka and Saurav defeated Guyana's Mary Fung-a-Fat and Jason-Ray Khalil 2-0 (11-3, 11-3) in just 13 minutes of play. Later, the Indian pair outclassed Pakistan's Madina Zafar and Tayyab Aslam 2-0 (11-2, 11-3).
In the women's doubles event, Dipika and Joshna Chinappa came from behind to beat Pakistan's Zafar Faiza and Zafar Madina 2-1. After going down closely 10-11 in the opening game, the Indian duo bounced back strongly to thrash the Pakistani pair 11-0, 11-1. In their next outing, Dipika and Joshna will take on Wales' Tesni Evans and Deon Saffery on April 11.
In the last event of the day, India's second mixed double pairing of Joshna and Harinder Pal Sandhu defeated Caroline Laing and Jacob Kelly of Cayman Islands 2-0. They outclassed their opponents 11-3, 11-6 and wrapped up the issue in 15 minutes at the Oxenford Studios. Joshna and Harinder will now face Scotland's Lisa Aitken and Kevin Moran on April 11.
Read the squash roundup at CWG 2018 here: CWG: India taste success on Day 6 (Squash Roundup)
4) Indian hockey teams qualify for semi-finals at CWG 18: It was a field day for Indian men's and women's hockey teams as they defeated Malaysia 2-1 and South Africa 1-0, respectively, to enter the semi-finals at the Commonwealth Games on Tuesday. While the men's team rode on a couple of penalty corner conversations from Harmanpreet Singh (3rd, 44th minutes) to record their second consecutive win, the eves saw Rani Rampal scoring the winner in the 47th-minute to remain on top of Pool A with nine points. The men's team are also top of Pool B with seven points from three matches.
India will play their last pool match against second placed England on Wednesday. With the top two teams advancing to the last four stage, India are assured of a place in the semi-finals as they will finish second in the pool in case of a loss. "We are happy to be on the winning side. I think the team has improved since our first match against Pakistan. Though there are still certain areas we must get better with, this win will give the team a good momentum for the next match," India's chief coach Sjoerd Marijne said after the match. "It's not about the opponents but our own game. I am yet to see this team come up with a 7/10 performance in this tournament. If each of them manage to play their role to perfection, I am confident of a good show against England," he added.
India got off to an ideal start with forward Mandeep Singh winning the first penalty corner of the match in the second minute. Harmanpreet came up with a perfect dragflick, improvising on the injection and keeping the ball low to his right to find the gap and fetch India an early lead. Though Malaysia, too, won a penalty in the fifth minute, Razie Rahim's flick was off the mark. Buoyed by the lead, the Indians dominated possession and kept the Malaysian defenders on their toes with a constant stream of attacks.
Malaysia found the equaliser immediately after the start of the second quarter as a fast move down the right saw Faisal beat the Indian defence with an excellent run before receiving a defence splitting pass which found him in a one to one situation with India goalkeeper P R Sreejesh. Faisal did well to control the ball before beating Sreejesh with a superb finish from a tight angle.
India upped their attack in the third quarter, pushing for the elusive lead. Dilpreet Singh had a shot on goal but was saved by the Malaysian defence. Harmanpreet found the decisive goal in the closing stages of the third quarter when he converted a penalty corner with an excellent placing into the top left corner that beat the Malaysian custodian with its power and precision.
In the fourth quarter, S V Sunil earned India a penalty corner in the 57th minute. But an alert Malaysian goalkeeper came up with a brilliant save to keep Harmanpreet Singh from completing his hat-trick.
The eves, who came into the match on the back of consecutive wins over England and Malaysia, got off to a breezy start but the South Africans matched them with pace and precision. Though the overall technical quality was absent from both the teams as they engaged in a scrappy encounter.
India got a couple of penalty corners but Gurjit Kaur and Rampal couldn't make them count in the first two quarters.
At the beginning of the third quarter, South Africa began to ask questions but the Indian defence reacted strongly. India employed a strategy of waiting for the South African defence to push up and then hit them on the counter.
India came close to breaking the deadlock when drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur hit the cross-bar in the 38th minute.
It was a warning for a desperate South Africa, who pushed hard. Moments later, Navjot Kaur slid wide of the left post following a cross from Monika. Nearly nine minutes later, India got the 1-0 lead. Navneet Kaur led the counter-attack, before passing it onto the Vandana Katariya who was positioned at the top of the circle. Vandana passed the ball to Rampal, who made a beautiful turn after receiving the ball, holding off goalkeeper and a defender, to roll the ball in for the 1-0 lead.
5) Indian boxers assure country five more medals at CWG 18: Indian boxers continued to display rich form at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games on Day 6. They assured five more medals for the country after booking their place in the semi-finals of their respective weight category on Tuesday. After boxers Amit Panghal and Naman Tanwar advanced into the last four of their respective weight category, Hussamuddin Mohammed, Satish Kumar, and Manoj Kumar also defeated their opponents to secure three more medals for India.
Hussamuddin Mohammed defeated Zambia's Everisto Mulenga 5-0 in the quarter-finals of the men's 56 kg category. The Indian won the bout with decisions of 30-26, 30-26, 30-26, 30-25, and 30-26 from the five judges. In another quarter-final clash, Veteran boxer Manoj Kumar outplayed Australia's Terry Nickolas 4-1 in the 69 kg category. Kumar defeated the Australian 29-28, 27-30, 29-28, 30-27, 30-27 in a five round bout. Satish Kumar, the last boxer in the fray, beat Nigel Paul of Trinidad and Tobago 4-1 in men's heavyweight (91kg) category. Kumar defeated Paul 29-28, 30-27, 30-27, 28-29, 29-28.
6) Sachin Chaudhary bags bronze in para powerlifting at CWG 18: India's Sachin Chaudhary bagged a bronze medal in the Men's Heavyweight Para Powerlifting event at the ongoing Gold Coast Commonwealth Games on Tuesday. Chaudhary, who failed in the first two attempts but succeeded in his third try, scored 181.0 points. Abdulazeez Ibrahim of Nigeria successfully defended his Glasgow gold medal with 191.9 points while Yee Khie Jong of Malaysia won a silver with 188.7 points.
India's Sakina Khatun finished fifth out of seven competitors in women'e lightweight para powerlifting at the 21st Commonwealth Games here on Tuesday. Sakina, the bronze medallist in Glasgow in 2014, finished with 93.2 points to finish fifth of seven competitors in the event.
7) Ashwini-Satwik make winning start in individual event at CWG: India's mixed doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Satwik Rankireddy on Tuesday claimed a straight-game win over Guernsey's Stuart Hardy and Chloe Le Tissier to make a resounding start to their campaign in the individual badminton events of the Commonwealth Games. Ashwini and Satwik, who had given India a positive start in the historic mixed team final against Malaysia yesterday, brushed aside Stuart and Chloe Le 21-9 21-5 in the opening match that lasted just 22 minutes. The Indian duo will next face the English combo of Lane Ben and Pugh Jessica tomorrow.
Saina Nehwal, P V Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth, and HS Prannoy were among the Indians who got a bye in the opening round and will open their singles campaigns tomorrow. Srikanth will face Mauritius' Aatish Lubah, while HS Prannoy meets Mauritius' Christopher Jean Paul in the men's singles tomorrow. In the women's singles, Olympic silver medallist P V Sindhu, who missed the mixed team event due to an ankle strain, will begin with a clash against Fijji's Andra Whiteside. Saina, who won all women's singles match in the mixed event, will take on South Africa's Elsie De Villiers. Meanwhile, Ruthvika Gadde will take on Ghana's Grace Atipaka.
8) India reach Round 4 in lawn bowls men's Fours: India defeated Botswana 16-9 to reach the fourth round of the lawn bowls men's Fours Sectional event at the Commonwealth Games on Tuesday. The Indian team comprising Chandan Kumar Singh, Sunil Bahadur, Alok Lakra and Dinesh Kumar outclassed Botswana's Edwin Nyoka, Nixon Senna, Kabo Gaboutloeloe and Kitso Robert in Round 3.
Read our coverage of India's performance at Day Five of CWG 2018: CWG 2018: India's gold rush on with 19 medals in total; top 10 developments
9) Swimmer Sajan finishes seventh: Indian swimmer Sajan Prakash finished seventh in the men's 1500 metre freestyle final at the Commonwealth Games on Tuesday. Sajan clocked 15:52.84 to finish seventh in the eight-men final. The gold medal went to Australia's Jack Mcloughlin, who clocked 14:47.09, while silver went to Daniel Jervis. The Welshman clocked 14:48.67. Mack Horton of Australia clocked 14:51.05 to take bronze.
10) India's performance on Day 6 of CWG: Here is the Indian contingent's performance on the sixth day of the Commonwealth Games in alphabetical order.
Men's 400m final: Muhammed Anas Yahiya (4th) 45.31s (National Record)
Women's 400m (semi-final): Hima Das (3rd) (51.53s) (Qualified for finals)
Ashwini Ponnappa & Satwik Rankireddy beat Stuart Hardy & Chloe Le Tissier (Guernsey) 21-9 21-5
Saina Nehwal, P V Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth and HS Prannoy all got byes
Men's 46-49 kg: Amit Phangal beats Aqeel Ahmed (Scotland)
Men's 56 kg: Mohammed Hussamuddin beats Everisto Mulenga (Zambia)
Men's 69 kg: Manoj Kumar beats Terry Nickolas (Australia)
Men's 91kg: Naman Tanwar beats Frank Masoe (Samoa)
Men's +91kg: Satish Kumar beats Nigel Paul (T&T)
All boxers assured of bronze medals
Men: India beat Malaysia 2-1 (Enter semi-final)
Women: India beat South Africa 1-0 (Enter semi-final)
Women's 25m pistol: Heena Sidhu (Gold medal); Anu Raj Singh (6th)
Men's 50m Rifle Prone: Chain Singh (4th), Gagan Narang (7th)
Women's doubles (league games)
Dipika Pallikal & Joshna Chinappa beat Faroha Zafar & Madina Zafar (Pakistan)10-11 11-0 11-1
Mixed doubles (league games)
Dipika Pallikal & Saurav Ghosal beat Mary Fung-A-Fat & Jason-Ray Khalil (Guyana) 11-3 11-3.
Dipika Pallikal & Saurav Ghosal beat Madina Zafar & Tayyab Aslam (Pakistan) 11-2 11-3.
Joshna Chinappa & Harinder Pal Sandhu beat Caroline Laing & Jacob Kelly (Cayman Islands) 11-3 11-6
Men's Singles Sectional Play - Section A, Round 3
Krishna Xalxo beats Arun Kumar (Fiji) 21-11
Men's Singles Sectional Play - Section A, Round 4
Krishna Xalxo lost to Andrew Newell (Jamaica) 18-21
Women's Pairs Sectional Play - Section A, Round 2
India beat Jersey 22-12
Women's Pairs Sectional Play - Section A, Round 3
India lost to Northern Ireland 14-15
Sachin Chaudhary (Bronze). Effort: 181 kg