Sunday, October 10, 2010

India look forward to seven medals in boxing

India are looking up to their star-studded boxing squad that includes Olympic Games bronze medallist Vijender Singh, to provide a further impetus to their medal harvest on the eighth day of the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on Monday. Seven boxers would be seen in the ring in which the semi
final bouts would be contested and even a loss at this stage would assure them of at least a bronze, but it's certain all of them would be targeting the gold. The seven are: Anandeep Singh (lt.-fly), Suranjoy Singh (fly), Jai Bhagwan (lt. welter), Manoj Kumar (lt. welter), Dilbag Singh (welter), Vijender Singh (middle) and Paramjeet Samota (super heavy).

Their opponents are from Northern Ireland, Pakistan, England, Bahamas and Tonga. Today's winners would progress to the finals on Wednesday after Tuesday's break. Thus far, India's tally includes 29 gold, just one shy of their all-time best of 30 in 2002 at Manchester, 22 silver and as many bronze medals and is made up mainly of those won in the shooting range and on the wrestling mat.

Out of the total gold heist, the shooters, who are still in the fray, have scooped up 13, the all-powerful wrestlers and the fast-improving archers - both through with their campaign - have picked up 10 and 3 respectively. Also, out of the record overall medal heist of 73, these three sports have injected 51 - a sure indication of their vast contribution.

The surprise packet for India have been the athletes who have garnered two silver and as many bronze medals, also the best-ever from any single Games. The medal winners have been field athletes Vikas Gowda (men's discus), Prajusha Malliakal (women's long jump), Harminder Singh (men's 20km road walk) and Kavita Raut (women's 10,000m).

Today, triple jump hope Renjit Maheshwari would be in action along with seasoned women's discus throwers Krishna Pooniya and Seema Antil. Young Gayatri Govindraj takes her bow in women's 100m hurdles while preliminary rounds of all four relay events would also be gone through and India have entered in all.

In rugby 7s, India - who are making their debut - lost to Wales. In shooting, world champion Tejaswini Sawant and Meena Kumari are in fray in the 50m rifle prone event for women along with skeet shooters Allan Daniel Peoples and Mairaj Ahmad Khan. Sarabjit Singh will appear in men's 105kg Weightlifting competition.

There's Indian presence in the squash doubles event too. Indians would also seen in action in table tennis and badminton's individual competitions.

India on verge of CWG medals record as 16 gold medals at stake on Day 8

With 16 gold medals at stake on the eighth day of the XIXth Commonwealth Games, India would be keen to continue the impressive run as they are on the verge of equalling their best ever Commonwealth Games gold medals record today.

India has so far won 29 gold and another gold would put them level with their all time list of 30 gold, which they achieved in 2002 Manchester Games.

Out of six gold medals in Athletics on Monday, all eyes would be on discus thrower Krishna Pooniya and Renjit Maheshwari, who will compete in men's triple jump.

Despite showing a dismal performance in the 2010 Games so far, the Indian swimmers and divers would look to better their performance today with Hari Prasad Thimmarayappa and Manesh Kumar Mohan competing in men's 3m-springboard event, and Hrutika Parvatayya Shriram and Deepti Panwar in women's 10m-platform event at the SP Mukherjee Swimming Stadium today.

Indian boxers Suranjoy Singh and Amandeep Singh will be fighting in their respective semi-finals.

Indian shooters have been impressive in the 2010 Games and will eye upon gold today as well. Tejaswini Sawant and Meena Kumari will participate in the Women's 50m Prone Rifle Pairs event, while Allan Daniel Peoples and Mairaj Ahmad Khan will aim for gold in the Men's Skeet Pairs event.

Weightlifter Sarabjit fight for gold in 105+kg Men Finals.

The gold medals at stake today include: aquatics (2), athletics (6), lawn bowls (2), shooting (5) and weightlifting (1).

Anuj hoping CWG silver will help him get promotion

Arjuna awardee and Olympian Anuj Kumar Chaudhary believes in positive thinking. After winning a silver in 84 kg freestyle wrestling event in the Commonwealth Games on Sunday, now Anuj is eagerly waiting for a promotion in the department.

Talking to The Indian Express, the 28-year-old Uttar Pradesh Police wrestler who has brought laurels to the state and the country on numerous occasions, said, “My department is already very happy with my efforts. Presently, I am posted at Noida as an inspector. My file for promotion as Deputy SP is pending with the UP government since 2006. I think the silver medal today will help me in getting my due promotion and recognition from the government.”

Anuj who hails from Badari village of Muzaffarnagar said that after a medal at the Commonwealth Games, now he will be working hard for the upcoming Asian Games and the 2012 Olympics.

Anuj got a job in the Uttar Pradesh Police in 2000 as sub-inspector through the sports quota. Owing to his performances in the national and international arena he got promoted as inspector in 2003. He was given the Laxman award (the highest state award in sports) in 2001 and the Arjuna award in 2005. Talking about his performances in the international arena— he won a silver in the Commonwealth Games held at Manchester in 2002 and a gold in the Commonwealth Wrestling Championship in 2003. He bagged a bronze in the Asian Wrestling Championships held in China in 2005 and a gold at the Commonwealth Wrestling Championships the same year.

When contacted secretary Uttar Pradesh Police Sports Control Board and IG Police Arun Kumar said, “The proposal for his promotion is already under consideration. Now we will ensure that he gets promoted at the earliest.”

Arjuna awardee Ranveer Singh who is assistant director sports in UP Police and former captain of the Indian volleyball team said, “Anuj’s promotion is pending with the government due to some technical reasons.

I hope that the technical difficulties are done away with soon and he gets promoted as DSP as per the Government order. Talented players get encouraged with recognition. Anuj has done the state and the country proud on several occasions.”

Commonwealth Games 2010: party time as India beat Pakistan to set up England clash

It was the night when the Commonwealth Games came to life. A sell-out crowd of 20,000 flag-waving fans screaming themselves hoarse as India thumped seven goals past their old hockey adversaries, Pakistan, to clinch a semi-final place against England.

Finally, after six days of half-empty stadiums and general indifference among locals to the sporting events that have turned their city into a military zone, the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium erupted into a giant party yesterday. Jose Brasa, India’s Spanish coach, likened it to being inside the BernabĂ©u.

If only the rest of the Games could have been like this. How different it all was to the eerily empty streets that had greeted the cyclists for the men’s and women’s road races just a few hours earlier.

Even the omnipresent police and security personnel appeared to be fighting a losing battle as spectators ignored their exhortations to sit down, many choosing to stand and cheer for the entire game.

Among them in the cheap seats was Indian National Congress Party president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul, who, in an apparent political gesture, eschewed the Games VIP area and chose to sit with paying customers behind one of the goals, heralding a mass outbreak of rubber-necking when the pair were spotted.

This was not a time for class distinction. Indians, facing a must-win clash with Pakistan in their national sport, were in it together.

The match had long been billed as the “Game of the Games” - ever since the last ticket was sold 3½ months ago — but what was not known then was that the cross-border showdown would be a winner-takes-all affair, deciding who would go forward to the semi-finals and who would be leaving with nothing.

With both sides tied on six points before the match but with Pakistan boasting a superior goal difference, the visitors needed only a draw while India required a victory.

India’s lame 5-2 capitulation to world champions Australia just three days earlier had not exactly inspired much confidence going into yesterday’s match, particularly since Pakistan had looked impressive in their previous pool games.

But India were clearly galvanised by the passionate home support.

Astonishingly, they were 4-0 up within 20 minutes as Sandeep Singh lashed home two penalty corners, Shivendra Singh scored a rebound from another and Saravanjit Singh touched home a long-hit pass from Sandeep to make it an all Singh-ing and dancing start for the hosts.

Two goals for Pakistan before half-time quietened the crowd for a while but by the time Danish Mujtaba swooped on a rebound from a penalty corner just after the interval and poked the ball home, the victory celebrations had begun.

A goal for Dharamvir Singh and a second for Shivendra were met with two Pakistan replies, the match ending 7-4.

India now meet England tomorrow for a place in the final after Barry Middleton’s men secured a 2-1 victory over South Africa earlier in the day to finish on top of their pool. Another sell-out crowd will test their mental fortitude.

“The crowd was excellent,” said Brasa. “I think it is incredible to play with this support. The crowd started shouting and supporting the players as soon as they arrived on the pitch and they carried on shouting every time an Indian player got the ball and looked to attack.

“That is very difficult to find in another country. In football we have something similar in Spain with Real Madrid but it is difficult to find something equal.

“When Spain were playing in the final of the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 the crowd were supporting us, but it was nothing like this.”

Commonwealth Games 2010: technology and ticketing providing no end of problems

Olympic organisers say they will learn lessons from the serious ticketing and technology problems at the Commonwealth Games that have been so bad the system has teetered on the verge of collapse.

The most basic information needed for athletes, officials and technical delegates to conduct the competitions in New Delhi have ground to a halt.

In addition, the technology surrounding the sale of tickets has been immersed in scandal and incompetence, with spectators told venues are sold out, only to see on television the stands are half empty. Ticket offices often sell tickets but are then unable to print them out.

The ticketing debacle has even extended to fraud. On Sunday police arrested two people, including a volunteer who worked with the organising committee, for selling tickets at double the face value even though they were supposed to be given to schoolchildren for free.

“This has been an eye-opener into how not to do things, and how important it is for the whole system to be integrated from the word go, and tested months ahead of time,” said a London official who has been embedded in the Games staffing.

“The technology has been the biggest disaster and it has only been the goodwill of everyone being patient and trying to work around the issues that any results are being published, it is a nightmare. Technology and tickets, the two big items and they have failed both here, it has been a really valuable lesson for us not to cut any corners with this.”

Behind the scenes the results and information service which provides basic details such as schedules, times, placings, medal tallies and flash quotes from athletes has failed miserably. Commentators and journalists have to rely on scoreboard timings that flash up at a venue, sometimes for just seconds. The alternative is to wait more than four or five hours for such results.

“The main area we are very unhappy with is the Games info system,” Commonwealth Games Federation president Mike Fennell said.

Organising committee executives said the problem was the integration of the information at the venues on to the mainframe. Experts have been working on the problem of corrupted files and unworkable slow data speeds since before the opening ceremony, but it has now got to the stage that the information is being emailed around on pdf files.

Swiss Timing was charged with integrating the system at each venue into the main system but with just four days of competition remaining, the system still does not work.

Fennell said integration of the results was always challenging at Games and the contract had to be carefully handled.

Boxing: Khan, Barnes win CWG medals

Haroon Khan guaranteed a Commonwealth Games medal at the Talkatora Stadium in Delhi on Saturday.

However, he insisted beating a British fighter gave him more satisfaction than knowing he will head home with at least bronze.

The 19-year-old, wearing the vest of Pakistan, squeezed past Welshman Andrew Selby on countback after a tight 3-3 draw, then said he felt vindicated after alleging he had been frozen out of the Great Britain squad.

Khan said: "This is what I wanted to do - get a medal and beat a lad from the Great Britain podium squad. I've done that and proved them wrong. It [beating a Briton] is more important than the medal."

Responding to comments made by Selby after the previous round in which the Welshman said Khan was not worthy of a podium squad place, Khan said: "Selby said he battered me in sparring - well look what happened then.

"My hand was lifted and I'm just so proud. My job was to come here and prove the selectors wrong and I've done that. I've got a medal at 52kg and the British lad hasn't got it. I wanted a medal to prove I'm good enough and I've done that."

Khan took the lead with a left hand through Selby's tight guard in the opening round, but a good left in return allowed the Welshman, whose more accurate shots lacked power, to draw level.

A crisp counter-punching right from Khan put him back in front in round two but Selby's dogged persistence paid off with a second equalising punch towards the end of the round, setting up a dramatic finale.

Both fighters exchanged single points again in the third with Khan's looser, more powerful performance ultimately catching the eye of the judges and sending him through to a semi-final against India's Suranjoy Mayengbam.

Northern Ireland light-flyweight Paddy Barnes was less happy with his bronze medal and was in no mood to celebrate despite a strong and sharp 4-2 victory over Australia's Andrew Moloney.

Barnes, the European champion and Olympic bronze medallist, dodged the interview mixed zone after claiming earlier quotes he had given in which he claimed boxing was "boring" had been taken out of context.

Middlesbrough heavyweight Simon Vallily got his Games campaign under way with an explosive first-round stoppage of Dominic Winrow of the Isle of Man.

Vallily rocked his opponent with his first punch of the fight and forced a standing count with just 20 seconds of the contest gone. A huge left hand clubbed Winrow to the canvas and he was helped groggily back to his corner.

Vallily said: "It was good to get out there. I wanted to get into the tournament and get the ball rolling because all of this is a new experience for me but it's just great to be at the Commonwealth Games.

"There's a bit of pressure on me but it doesn't really affect me. I just train hard and get in and do what I've got to do. The pressure just comes with winning. With my power and speed I hope I can have a good tournament.''

Northern Ireland's Steven Ward moved within one more win of a medal with a 7-4 win over Australian Giancarlo Squillace, while Scottish heavyweight Stephen Simmons eased past South Africa's Masana Manganyi 10-2.

Simmons decked Manganyi with a strong right hand in the last round but the Scot, who was dropped from the fully-funded Great Britain podium squad earlier this year, was far from happy with his performance.

Simmons said: "I give it five out of 10. I'm here to take gold here and prove a point but I will need to make my performance better to do it. I'm never going to win gold with a performance like that.''

Riverland's champ celebrates another gold

Loxton-born Sophie Edington has added another gold Commonwealth Games medal to her trophy cabinet.

A triple gold medalist in Melbourne, Sophie Edington has taken gold in the 50 metres backstroke in Delhi.

Setting a Commonwealth Games record, she touched at 28 seconds, ahead of England's Gemma Spofforth with 28.03 seconds and Welsh swimmer Georgia Davies, third, at 28.33 seconds.

In Melbourne, Edington also won gold in the 100 metres backstroke and 4x100 metres medley relay.

Kalmadi thanks Delhiites and others for 'successful' CWG

Commonwealth Games Organising Committee Chairman Suresh Kalmadi today thanked Delhiites and "unseen" people for their contribution in making various events successful during the grand sporting event and said "excellent" results will help spread the message of Olympics in New Delhi. "The citizens of
Delhi have happily joined hands with Delhi Police to ensure the implementations of the Games Lane so that the athletes’ schedules are not affected by traffic. No event of this magnitude can be successful without the contribution of several people, unseen but vital," Kalmadi said in ‘Village News’ – a special daily newspaper, meant for Commonwealth Games Village residents.

He said there have been some fabulous results from the velodrome and the pool.

"The number of new Games records set is a testimony to the quality of competition and the field of play," he said adding that "I am confident that such excellent results will help spread the message of Olympic sport in India."

Kalmadi said his colleagues in the Indian Olympic Association share the optimism that "we can build on the surge of interest and enthusiasm among sports fans in the country. We know we can build on this to sustain the development of many new champions.

"It is pleasing to note that all competitions have been held according to schedule thus far."

The 19th Commonwealth Games being hosted by the country was marred by several controversies including corruption and filthiness in several facilities meant for athletes.

Over 7,000 athletes from 71 nations are living in the Commonwealth Games Village here to participate in 12-day-long sporting event scheduled to end on October 14.

Haryana chief minister wants Olympics in India

With players from Haryana leading India's gold medal hunt in the Commonwealth Games, Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda Sunday said India should now host the Olympics.

'The country is capable of organising the Olympic Games. People have noticed the potential of the country. If the Olympics are held, I can say our players will bring laurels to the country,' Hooda said in Sonipat.

At least 11 players from Haryana have won Commonwealth gold medals out of India's tally of 28 golds.

'Being a sportsperson, I know players of country in general and Haryana in particular. They have huge potential. If they are provided facilities and support, the country can lead the world in sports,' he added.

Hooda said that international-level sports academies in boxing, wrestling, hockey, cricket and basketball were being set up in the state to provide the best sporting facilities to players from the state.

The Commonwealth medal winners and coaches of the state would be honoured in a function on Haryana Day Nov 1.

The players winning gold, silver and bronze medals would get cash awards of Rs.1.5 million (15 lakh), Rs.1 mn (10 lakh) and Rs.500,000 respectively.

Coaches of medal winners would be honoured with cash prizes of Rs.300,000, Rs.200,000 and Rs.100,000.

Commonwealth Games 2010: shambles continue as swimming pool filtration system fails

Where's the boss? Where's the tickets? and where's the chlorine? As the Commonwealth Games heads into its eighth day of competition there is no let up of the glitches and stuff ups that have marred the lead up preparations and the actual competition.

At the aquatic centre on the final day, the main pool was so cloudy and dirty, swimmers couldn't see more than two metres underwater, impacting on their turns. The wide television pictures illustrated a stark contrast between a sparkling blue diving pool and a brownish murky tinge to the main 50m pool.

Sources say the problem stemmed from the filtration system that failed completely. Ellen Gandy, an England bronze medallist on the last day, said that she couldn't see more than two metres in front of her during the warm-up.

Kamlesh Nanavati, competition manager at the SP Mukherjee complex, admitted to Telegraph Sport that it was a backwash problem with the pool's filtration but that no federation had directly complained.

He said: "The pool was not dirty but it certainly wasn't clear. We had two tests on the pool and there were no problems."

However British Swimming performance director Michael Scott filed an official complaint with the organisers an hour before the start of competition, but received no satisfaction.

"I feel I have a responsibility to my swimmers who have put in significant hours of training to make sure they have the best possible conditions.

"Would you expect a Formula One racetrack to have substandard conditions? I am obligated to ask the question."

This is the same pool that passed water testing two days ago after it was feared to have been the cause of a spate of ill swimmers, possibly from pigeon droppings contamination.

Divers derigging TV output on the final day said that they had never seen a competition pool so unclear. One said: "There were black bits [from the roof] floating on the bottom and the water has got worse throughout the week."

The Indians are crying foul that they are being unfairly treated by their visitors as the Games continue on their shambolic way.

The Indians claimed an English official was rude at the archery, and the South African swimmer Roland Schoeman had racially offended an Indian spectator calling him a monkey. Both had been cleared after investigations by their respective delegations.

On Saturday the chairman of the organising committee, Suresh Kalmadi – the author of the gaffe about Prince Diana – failed to show at the daily press conference for the second consecutive day.

His replacement, the organising committee secretary general Lalit Bhanot – the author of the line about westerners having different standards of cleanliness to Indians – instead had to take the wrath of an increasingly frustrated Commonwealth Games Federation.

The main problem is the poor crowd attendance at some venues, even though some had been boosted by free tickets to schoolchildren. Bhanot tried to bat away complaints about the sparse attendances, claiming close to one million tickets had been sold, including 54,885 yesterday and said the size of the crowd at the athletics was very good, the boxing was full and of course, the hockey, India's national sport, was sold out for

Indian matches, including Sunday's crunch clash against Pakistan. But the CGF president Mike Fennell stepped in noting "you weren't at this morning's meeting" and revealed an internal investigation was under way.

"When people go to the ticket office and can't purchase a ticket because they are told the event is sold out, something is not right about the ticket sales and we have asked for a thorough report on it." said Fennell.

Of course many of the animal capers are unavoidable. The cobras in the athletes village – the count is up to five snakes –, the swooping crows at the hockey, the wayward dog on the athletics infield, add colour to a Games.

It's the drama the Games don't need.

Australians Win Fan-Free Road Races At Comm Games

Tight security featuring gun-toting police on top of steel barricades kept most of the spectators away during a Commonwealth Games women's cycling road race won by Rochelle Gilmore of Australia on Sunday.
It was a perfect day for the race — moderate temperatures, sunny skies and a scenic course through some of the most picturesque parts of downtown New Delhi, including the famous India Gate and Presidential Palace. Even a dog and a monkey sighted on the course didn't bother the competitors.

Gilmore won in a sprint finish in 2 hours, 49 minutes and 30 seconds. Elizabeth Armistead of England was second and another Australian, Chloe Hosking, took bronze.

Another Australian, Allan Davis, won the men's road race of 168 kilometers (103 miles) later Sunday in a sprint finish over Hayden Roulston of New Zealand in a time of 3:40.48. David Millar of Scotland took bronze. Pre-race favorite and Tour de France sprinter Mark Cavendish finished seventh.

But the morning race, staged over eight laps of a 13.7-kilometer (8.45-mile) course, was almost devoid of fans. Television footage showed mostly soldiers and other security officials standing behind the fenced and barrier-laden course.

The lack of crowds didn't bother Gilmore.

"Perhaps it was for the best in terms of security," she said. "We knew a lot of spectators would be watching us on TV."

Gilmore's victory comes after Australian cyclists won 12 of 14 gold medals on the track.

It was a Kiplagat kind of evening at the nearly full Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, where 800-meter runner Boaz Kiplagat Lalang led the way to win gold in 1 minute, 46.60 seconds. Richard Kiplagat was next in 1:46.95 and Abraham Kiplagat took bronze in 1:47.37.

David Greene of Wales surprised defending champion Louis van Zyl in the men's 400 hurdles, beating the South African to the finish line in 48.52 seconds. Van Zyl was second in 48.63 and Rhys Williams of Wales took bronze in 49.19.

In the women's 400 hurdles, Muizat Ajoke Odumosu of Nigeria won in 55.28, followed by Eilidh Child of Scotland in 55.62 and Nickiesha Wilson of Jamaica in 56.06.

Nicole Forrester of Canada won the women's high jump, clearing 1.91 meters. The men's discus gold medal went to Benn Harradine of Australia, who threw 65.45 meters.

Diving began its four-day run and Canada took both golds Sunday.

Jennifer Abel and Emilie Heymans won the women's 3-meter synchro. Australians took the other medals — Briony Cole and Sharleen Stratton the silver and Jaele Patrick and Olivia Wright the bronze.

Alexandre Despatie defended his title in the 1-meter springboard by taking gold later Sunday. One of the biggest names in the diving competition — Olympic 10-meter platform champion Matthew Mitcham of Australia — won the silver.

It was Despatie's record seventh gold Commonwealth Games gold for Canada. His first came in 1998 at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia when he was 13.

"It feels like a long time ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday," said Despatie. "Hopefully I have a bit more to give. At 25 years of age it's weird being called a veteran."

Meanwhile, organizing committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi said a volunteer on the organizing committee had been reported to police over the alleged sale of counterfeit tickets. Local media also reported that two people were arrested for scalping games tickets and that some games credentials were also sold illegally.

Commonwealth Games Federation President Mike Fennell said 850 of the planned 1,500 doping tests at the games had been conducted, and that 600 tests that have been returned were all negative.

There was a positive tone Sunday from Bhubaneswar Kalita, India's chef de mission. Despite a host of problems at the Commonwealth Games — late construction of venues, transportation and security concerns and clogged roads — Kalita said he remained optimistic that India would one day hold an Olympics.

"Yes, our good performance and hosting games like this will definitely step forward (the bid) to host the Olympics in India," Kalita said.

Wrestler Sushil Kumar wins 28th gold for India

World champion and Olympic bronze medalist Sushil Kumar of India has beaten Heinrich Barnes of South Africa to win the the 66-kilogram freestyle wrestling final at the Commonwealth Games to bring India's gold tally to 28. Kumar pinned down his opponent in the second round when leading 2-0, 5-0 to
clinch the gold on Sunday.

Sushil Kumar had earlier in the semifinals pinned Famara Jarjou of Gambia in a mere nine seconds.

The world champion had also not conceded a point in the previous two bouts.

The fierce battle for gaining the second spot in the Commonwealth Games continued in earnest between India and England on the seventh day of competitions with the hosts edging in front by bagging four gold medals.

Teenage archer Deepika Kumari upset an Olympic bronze medallist to win the recurve gold, Harpreet Singh clinched the 25m centre fire pistol gold, archer Rahul Banerjee grabbed the men's individual recurve gold and world wrestling champion Sushil Kumar won the 66kg title by destroying all his rivals.

Vijay Kumar bagged silver behind Harpreet, freestyle wrestler Anuj Kumar also got a silver in men's 84 kg, trap shooter Manavjit Singh Sandhu secured a bronze while Jayanta Talukdar finished third behind Banerjee.

Sania Mirza and Rushmi Chakravarthi beat compatriots Nirupama Sanjeev and Poojashree Venkatesh to secure the women's doubles bronze in tennis and swell India's medal kitty.

Banerjee's sister Dola finished third in women's recurve and grappler Anil Kumar got the bronze in 55kg freestyle as India came up with another impressive display to jump over England and regain the second spot behind leaders Australia.

Asian silver medallist Jai Bhagwan (60kg) and nine-time national champion Dilbag Singh assured India of two more boxing medals but defending champion Akhil Kumar made a shock exit in the Commonwealth Games by advancing to the semifinals on Sunday.

Jai, a Commonwealth Championship gold-medallist, blanked Waheed Sogbamu of Nigeria 10-0, while Dilbag (69 kg) thrashed Botswana's Moabi Mothiba 11-3 in while Akhil Kumar bowed out after losing to Olympic bronze-medallist Bruno Julie of Mauritius in the 56 kg quarterfinals.

The two boxers joined Amandeep Singh (49kg) and Suranjoy Singh (52kg), who won their quarterfinal bouts on Sturday, in assuring themselves of their maiden CWG medals.

The haul of four gold, two silver and five bronze medals took the Indian tally to 28-19-22 while England were once again made to play catch-up with a haul of 25-45-29. Australia were far ahead with 57-33-35.

India were also just three gold medals short of overhauling their best-ever harvest of 30 at the Manchester Games in 2002 when three gold medals were awarded for each weight class, a practice that has been discontinued since.

The day opened with 17-year-old Ranchi-born Deepika, daughter of an autorickshaw owner, stunning 2004 Athens Olympics bronze medallist Alison James Williamson 6-0, showing amazing precision and steady nerves in windy conditions to win her second gold of the Games.

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