It was a day of mixed fortunes for India at the ongoing Asian Games in Jakarta Palembang. While Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan bagged gold in men’s doubles category in tennis, the rowing team clinched gold and bronze as well as Heena Sidhu adding bronze in shooting tally.
But it was a completely different sight in other sports. The women’s kabbadi team had to settle for silver for the first time, losing to Iran in the finale. Kidambi Srikanth and HS Prannoy made shocking exits from the round of 32 in men’s singles badminton. Gaurav Solanki crashed out in the first round of men’s 52kg category in boxing.
There was one sport from where the happiness, the assurance of medals came in and that was squash. At the GBK squash stadium, three medals were assured to be added into the medals tally.
It started off with an all-India men’s singles quarter-final clash between Saurav Ghosal and Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu. It was a see-saw match as the first set was taken by Harinder 11-9. But Saurav, India no 1 in squash and an experienced campaigner as far as Asian Games is concerned, did not let the matter slip out of the hands and took the next three sets 11-7, 11-7 and 11-7. A closely-contested game between two compatriots going into the hands of the 32-year old veteran. Saurav will face Chug Ming Au of Hong Kong China tomorrow in the semi-finals.
At the same time, Dipika Pallikal Karthik was up against Misaki Kobayashi of Japan in women’s singles category. It was a breeze for Dipika as she won comfortably in straight sets 11-6, 11-5 and 11-5. Dipika will now face Nicol David of Malaysia, the eight-time World Champion and six-times Asian Games gold Medallist tomorrow, about whom Dipika had said before starting of the event as a player whom “I have never beaten”. It will surely be a task cut out for the World No 19 as she faces the same opponent, who had beaten her in semi-finals four years ago in the previous edition at Incheon within 25 minutes.
After Dipika, it was the turn of the seasoned Joshna Chinappa to take the court for her quarter-final match against Chan Ho Ling of Hong Kong China. The experienced campaigner got the better of her opponent by winning the match 11-5, 12-10, 5-11, 12-10 to set up a semi-final clash with Sivasangari Subramaniam of Malaysia, who inflicted a major upset by beating second seed Annie Au in the other quarter-final.
With three medals assured from squash, one can quickly sum up by saying that “Squash turned out to be a winner in a day of upsets and even triumphing over Badminton, it’s rival racquet sport”.