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Commonwealth Games 2018: Sanjita Chanu breathes fire to bring home second gold, young Deepak Lather shines on big stage

The fire in her belly had raged for a while and on Friday, Sanjita Chanu channelised it admirably, pulling off a calculated performance in Gold Coast. It gave the Manipuri weightlifter a second gold medal in successive Commonwealth Games. With a total of 192kg, including a Games Record of 84kg in snatch, she added the 53kg crown to the 48kg class gold from Glasgow.

Chanu’s effort saw India increase their gold medal tally in the 2018 Games to two after world champion Mirabai Chanu made the 48kg class competition her own on Thursday. Deepak Lather became India’s youngest Commonwealth Games medallist when he secured bronze in the men’s 69kg category to help India climb up the medal charts.

 Commonwealth Games 2018: Sanjita Chanu breathes fire to bring home second gold, young Deepak Lather shines on big stage

Sanjita Chanu competes in the women's 53kg weightlifting event during the Commonwealth Games 2018. PTI

Chanu, the 24-year-old Indian Railways employee, had to beat back a challenge by Papua New Guinea’s Loa Dika Toua and lift a total of 192kg, including a Games record of 84kg in snatch and 108kg in clean and jerk. Her performance in Gold Coast should be a catalyst in helping her secure the Arjuna Award this year without having to take a legal recourse.

The Manipuri’s coaches may have been conservative in deciding not to get her to attempt improving on her personal best of 85kg in snatch, perhaps being influenced by the fact that Papua New Guinea’s Loa Dika Toua could have turned the tables in clean and jerk. In the event, Loa Dika Toua finished a good 10kg behind after failing to lift 113kg in clean and jerk.

The role of fortune in determining placings came through tellingly in the other two categories today, men’s 69kg class and women’s 58kg class. Deepak Lather needed some luck to finish on the podium, thanks to Samoa’s Ioane Vaipava Nevon’s guts and glory effort that went bust.

There was quite some drama before Deepak Lather’s bronze medal was confirmed. The 17-year-old and his fans had to fervently wish that Nevon would fail in his grand bid to catapult his way past the leaders Welshman Gareth Evans (299kg), Sri Lankan Indika Dissanayake (297kg) and Lather (295kg).

The 28-year-old Samoan, whose snatch of 125kg left him with a lot of work to do in clean and jerk, opted to attempt lifting 175kg in the clean and jerk variant in his quest to land the gold medal but failed in two successive tries.

It left him with a total of 292kg, three less than the young Indian who finished with the bronze medal. The scales swung to the other end for India when 22-year-old Saraswati Rout took the stage in the final competition of the day in the weightlifting arena. She may have been desperately wishing that she had a physiotherapist around to help her when she ended up living the nightmare of making three no lifts at the entry weight of 78kg in the snatch variant.

There was no element of luck in hockey as the Indian women’s team rallied from its 2-3 defeat to Wales on the opening day of competitions to beat back a Malaysian challenge 4-1. The manner in which Ritu Rani’s team controlled the game was admirable, even if it was the Malaysians who held the ball for nearly two-thirds of the time.

The number of raids that the Indians managed to mount in the rival circle led to 11 penalty corners, two of which led to goals by Gurjit Kaur. Skipper Rani and Lalremsiami doubled the tally in the final quarter to hand India a win at the end of a scrapping battle with Malaysia. Coach Harendra Singh used the rolling substitutions liberally to ensure that those on the pitch would be fresh.

It was hard not to either admire how Harendra Singh had helped the team turn around after the loss to Wales. The support staff would be worthy of praise for its role in ensuring that the shoulders did not droop. And the players deserve credit for their hunger to battle, lifting themselves up from a demoralising defeat 24 hours earlier.

Three Indian squash players started the day as medal contenders. Yet, it was only Joshna Chinappa who made it to the women’s quarterfinals with a straight game win. Dipika Pallikal Karthik and Vikram Malhotra lost their pre-quarterfinals, leaving Joshna Chinappa to battle against New Zealand’s Joelle King, ranked 10 slots above her, for a place in the semifinals.

Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth led India to their third straight 5-0 win, this time against Scotland, that saw them take their appointed place at the top of the knockout draw. They are up against Mauritius in the quarter-finals and will have a semi-final meeting with the winner of the Australia-Singapore clash.

The women’s gymnastics team should have been buoyed by Aruna Budda Reddy becoming the first Indian to win a medal in the World Cup. Its performances did not appear inspired on Friday, perhaps the news of Aruna Reddy’s coach Brij Kishore succumbing to cancer in Hyderabad the day before might have had an impact.

Pranati Nayak’s 13.250 and Aruna Reddy’s 13.200 in the vault left them with a long wait to see if they would make it to the finals. By all accounts, that wait had not ended till very late even after the results of the team competition were out and had declared Canada, England and Australia as the winners of the three medals in that order.

The boxing contingent have maintained a clean slate so far. Amit Panghal beat Ghana’s Tetteh Sulemanu by a unanimous decision in the 49kg class and Naman Tanwar defeated Tanzania’s Haruna Mhando by a similar verdict in the 91kg class. Manoj Kumar had won his opening 69kg bout on Thursday.

The contingent retired for the day with the expectation that weightlifters Sathish Kumar Sivalingam (77kg class) and Ragala Venkat Rahul (85kg class) would mint gold on Saturday. And that India men’s hockey team would begin its campaign with a win against Pakistan.

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Updated Date: Apr 06, 2018 22:26:22 IST

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