Listen: Full script of Episode 31 of Spodcast where we discuss Arpinder Singh's triple jump triumph, Swapna Barman's Heptathlon gold and more

Welcome to Spodcast, the sports update on Firstpost.

India’s good run at the Asian Games continues. Arpinder Singh won a gold medal in the men’s triple jump event yesterday. This is India’s first gold medal in men’s triple jump at the Asian Games in 48 years. The last gold was won in 1970 by Mohinder Singh Gill.

Arpinder reached 16.77 metres to finish in first place. He beat Ruslan Kurbanov of Uzbekistan, who claimed the silver medal with a jump of 16.62 metres. Shuo Cao of China finished third with 16.56m.

Arpinder’s best jump yesterday, which won him the gold, was well short of his best jump this season – a 17.09m jump during the National Inter-State Championships in June. That jump had taken him to number three in the Asian rankings. His personal best is 17.17m.
Arpinder had finished in fifth place at the 2014 Asian Games.

Swapna Barman won the gold medal in the women’s heptathlon at the 2018 Asian Games. A heptathlon is a combined event consisting of 7 track and field events. In the women’s event, these seven are - 100 metres hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200 metres, long jump, javelin throw and an 800m race.

Swapna’s weakest performances were in the 100m and 200m races where she finished 5th and 7th respectively. However, she topped the field in javelin throw and high jump, and claimed second place in shot put and long jump. She finished fourth in the 800m race to complete the heptathlon with 6026 points.
She beat China’s Qingling Wang who took the silver with 5,954 points. Japan's Yuki Yamasaki took the bronze with 5,873 points.

Swapna said, “I have got this gold on the National Sports Day, so it's really special.” Swapna has six toes in both her feet, and regular shoes cause her discomfort. She said, “I use normal shoes worn by people who have normal five toes. It really pains during training. It is very uncomfortable, whether I wear spikes or normal shoes.” Asked if she would like some companies to provide customised shoes, she relied, "Definitely. It will make life easy."

The Indian women’s hockey team qualified for the Asian Games final after a gap of 20 years. They beat three-time champions China 1-0 in hard fought semi-final.
Gurjit Kaur scored the solitary goal, a strike from a penalty corner in the 52nd minute.

Both teams failed in creating, or seizing, opportunities during the game. India created four scoring opportunities in the first quarter but failed to close them out. China showed more intent but failed to capitalize on opportunities. They secured a penalty corner in the 18th minute, but Zixia Ou did not get the deflection she was aiming for.

Similarly, India got a penalty corner at the start of the third quarter but drag-flicker Gurjit couldn’t score. The umpires thought her shot hit the leg of a Chinese defender and gave India a stroke. But China went for a review and the decision was overturned.

A few missed opportunities later, with eight minutes to the final whistle, Gurjit Kaur netted one past the Chinese goalkeeper. China tried hard to equalize but India’s defence managed to hold them off.

India coach Sjoerd Marijne said after the match, “The team surely did not play to its potential in the first half. They stepped up in the second half and I am really happy for these girls. I know how much work they put in to be here. They trained really hard for this event.”
This is the first time since 1998 that the Indian women’s hockey team has made it to the final at the Games.

India will face Japan in the final. Five-time champions South Korea had lost 0-2 to Japan in the other semi-final. Marijne said, “Japan will be a tough challenge but the team is up for it.”

India had another good result in table tennis at the Asian Games. The mixed doubles pairing of Sharath Kamal and Manika Batra exceeded expectations to win a bronze medal.

Their bronze is the second medal for India in table tennis, following the bronze in the men’s team event. This is the first time in 60 years that India has won medals in table tennis at the Asian Games.

Kamal and Batra played four matches in one day. They beat Malaysia 11-2 11-5 11-8 in their first match. In the round of 16, they beat South Korea 11-7 7-11 11-8 10-12 11-4. Next was the quarterfinal where they beat the North Korean pairing of Cha Hyo Sim and An Ji Song. This match also went the full distance, before Kamal and Batra won the final game. The score read 11-4, 10-12, 11-6, 6-11, 11-8.

Sharath and Manika were through to the semi-final and guaranteed a medal. But they were up against the formidable Chinese pairing of Yingsha Sun and Wang Sun. The semi-final was a best of seven games, unlike the regular best of five games. Kamal and Batra eventually lost 9-11, 5-11, 13-11, 4-11, 8-11.

However, this has been a remarkable performance in table tennis for India at the Asian Games. “It has been an unbelievable campaign so far. Not even in my wildest dreams I thought of winning a medal at the Asian Games. Now I have got two. I am still pinching myself," said Sharath Kamal.

There were some good results for India’s boxing contingent at the Asian Games.

Vikas Krishan, a gold medallist in 2010 and bronze winner in 2014, won a split 3-2 verdict against China's Tuoheta Erbieke Tanglatihan in the quarterfinals of the 75kg boxing event.

He will face Abilkhan Amankul of Kazakhstan in the semi-final. With his semi-final appearance, Krishan has assured himself of a bronze, his third medal at the Asian Games. He overcame a bleeding left eye to win the quarterfinal bout. Vikas said after the match, “My performance was affected by the cut I suffered in the first round. I was a bit disturbed and I was not able to block him that much. If it wasn't for the cut, I would have beaten him 5-0 like I did in the past. Having said that, he is a good boxer.”

Amit Panghal also won his 49kg quarterfinal bout to secure a bronze medal. Amit, a Commonwealth Games silver-medallist, is playing at the Asian Games for the first time. He defeated South Korea's Kim Jang Ryong 5-0 in a clinical performance in the quarterfinal. He will face Carlo Paalam of the Philippines in his semi-final bout.

Speaking about his approach during the match, Amit said, “He was good boxer so it was not easy at all. I always rely on counter-punches and against him it paid off. In third round, he got tired and I also played a bit safe. It was all about keeping the lead after winning the first two rounds.”
India's assistant coach CA Kuttappa said about Amit, “He is one of the best boxers we have.”

Meanwhile, in the women’s competition, world silver-medallist Sarjubala Devi lost her quarterfinal bout in the 51kg category 0-5 to Chinese boxer Chang Yuan. India’s women boxers will return without a medal from the Asian Games for the first time since 2010.
MC Mary Kom had claimed a gold in the 2014 Asian Games.

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Updated Date: Aug 30, 2018 12:18:52 IST

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