S S Ramaswamy Guangzhou, Nov 16 (PTI) India opened a new page in its Asian Games history with Ashish Kumar clinching the first-ever medal in gymnastics while Virdhawal Khade broke the swimming medal drought after 24 years as the contingent added four bronze to its kitty in the fourth day of competitions here today. Ashish Kumar made the country''s first foray into the gymnastics medals podium with a bronze in the men''s floor event but disappointing performances in other disciplines resulted in India slipping to the ninth position in the medals table.
The 19-year-old Khade also scripted history as he became the first Indian swimmer in 24 years to clinch an Asian Games medal by notching up a bronze in the men''s 50 m butterfly event. Harika Dronavalli also clinched a bronze in the women''s individual chess.
Bimoljit Singh won a bronze in the 60 kg category of the wushu event while Sandhya Rani Devi has assured herself of at least a silver medal by reaching the final in the women''s event. With the addition of four bronze medals to the kitty, India''s medals tally rose to one gold, four silver and seven bronze.
India had finished tenth on the medal''s tally in the Doha Asian Games in 2006 with ten gold, 17 silver and 26 bronze medals. But the failure to win any gold medal meant that India could not maintain their seventh position on the medal rostrum, going down by two places.
The Chinese juggernaut continued to roll on as the hosts maintained their position atop the medals table with a whopping tally of 77-28-28 while South Korea (22-17-27) and Japan (15-34-29) were in the second and third position respectively. Pugilist Suranjoy Singh also provided some spark to punch his way into pre-quarter finals while the shooters came a cropper for the second successive day.
Suranjoy gave a resounding start to the team''s boxing campaign by entering the fly weight (52kg) pre-quarters with a thumping win over Thailand''s Chatchai Butdee but the script turned out to be quite different at the other venues where the shooters, shuttlers, lifters, men''s football team and the women''s hockey team came up with dismal performances. Indian shooters drew a blank for the second successive day after they failed to qualify for the final round of the women''s 25m pistol individual event and finished a lowly seventh in the team competition.
The women''s hockey team were handed a 0-3 thrashing by Japan in their second game while the paddlers endured another disappointing day with only the men''s doubles pair of Achanta Sharath Kamal and Subhajit Saha progressing to the pre-quarterfinals. Editors: Pick up suitably from the ASIAN-LDALL IND series issued under FGN62, 63, 64).