Ace shuttler Parupalli Kashyap broke a 32year jinx to claim the men’s singles badminton gold, while the women’s doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa as also the men’s hockey team clinched silvers to cap an creditable Indian showing at the 20th Commonwealth Games which closed late last night. However, off the pitch, the arrest of two senior sports officials IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta and wrestling referee Virender Malik on separate charges of drunken driving and sexual assault respectively came as a major embarrassment for the nation, which was earlier in the competition left red faced when a para powerlifter had to be pulled out of the Games and sent back home for failing an outofcompetition drug test conducted in June. The incidents took some of the sheen off the impressive 64 medal haul 15 gold, 30 silver and 19 bronze that ensured a fifth place finish in the leaderboard for India after England, Australia, Canada and hosts Scotland. It was India’s third best showing in the Commonwealth Games after the 100 plus bounty at home in Delhi four years back and the 69 medals they picked up at Manchester in 2002. However, it was Kashyap, who brought the curtains down on India’s campaign with a historic gold after breaking a 32yearold jinx and emulate former champions Prakash Padukone (1978) and Syed Modi (1982) to win the men’s singles title. The 27yearold clinched his first major championship by defeating Singaporean sixth seed Zi Liang Derek Wong 2114, 1121, 2119 in just over an hour at the Emirates Arena.
Kashyap raced away with the first game, but Wong fought back into the match by taking the second. The rivals went neckandneck in the decider but that did not stop both from playing aggressively. It remained extremely close until Kashyap took the lead for the first time in the game (1514) since leading 43 at the start. Buoyed by a large Indian support base who were cheering for Kashyap with shouts of India jeetega, the former World No.6 gained momentum and extended the lead to 1916. The Hyderabadi displayed some nervy moments when he lost three consecutive points to make it 19all but then stuck it out to win the next two points and clinch the gold. Much was expected from Jwala and Ashwini but they could not replicate their gold medalwinning performance of 2010 and had to be content with the silver, losing the final 1721, 2123 in 41 minutes to Malaysian second seeds Vivian Kah Mun Hoo and Khe Wei Woon. Reminiscent of the 2010 Games, India again lost to Australia in men’s hockey final but this time the margin was halved to 04 and settled for the silver medal. India were impressive in their 24 loss to Australia in the group games. But when it mattered the most, the goals dried up for India.
Dragflicker Chris Ciriello struck a hattrick for Australia while Eddie Ockenden completed the scoreline. The cycle road race brought disappointment as all the six male cyclists on show yesterday failed to finish. The six cyclists were Suresh Bishnoi, Amit Kumar, Arvind Panwar, Shreedhar Savanur, Manjeet Singh and Sombir. Meanwhile, the whole of India was left redfaced after the arrest of senior Indian Olympic Association officials IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta and wrestling referee Virender Malik on different charges of alleged misconduct and sexual assault respectively. According to reports, while Mehta has been arrested for drunken driving, Malik is facing a more serious charge of sexual assault. Malik was arrested on charges of a sexual assault by the police here late Saturday night. Media reports, quoting a Scotland Yard spokesperson, stated that two male members aged 45 and 49 were arrested on separate charges. The two will be produced in court today. A Scotland Yard spokeswoman confirmed the arrests but refused to divulge anything more. On August 2, a 49yearold man was arrested following reports of an alleged assault at City Centre of Glasgow. On August 2, a 45yearold man was arrested following reports of an alleged assault in the west of Glasgow, said the spokeswoman. Asked if Malik had been arrested for alleged sexual assault, the spokeswoman said, I cannot confirm right now.
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