Jakarta: Twenty-three-year old Tejinderpal Singh Toor clinched gold in the men’s shot put with a record-shattering throw of 20.75m to open India’s medal tally in athletics at the 18th Asian Games here on Saturday.
China’s Liu Yang took the silver with a best throw of 19.52m while Ivan Ivanov of Kazakhstan won the bronze with 19.40m.
With that, the Punjab shotputter also set a new national record and eclipsed a six-year-old record of 20.69m set by Om Prakash Karhana.
Toor cleared 19.96m in his first and fourth attempts before coming up with gold medal-winning throw of 20.75m in his fifth throw. His previous personal best was 20.24m set in 2017.
“My target was 21m, but am happy with 20.75m. The first gold medal for India after 16 years with a new meet record, I can’t ask for more. I had not aimed for gold, just had the aim of 21m. From the first throw of 19.96, I was in the lead. The weather and wind conditions were favourable,” said a jubilant Toor, who celebrated with a thump on his chest and thigh.
“In the Asian Championships, I finished second as it rained and the conditions changed. It was slippery so I just missed out on gold there,” added Toor, who is Asia’s No. 1 for the past three years.
“For the last two years, my father has been suffering from skin cancer but the family has been fully supportive. They don’t let me think about his ailment. They just ask me concentrate on the sport. They never allow me to accompany them to hospitals or doctors. All that sacrifice has been productive,” added an emotional Toor.
Earlier, squash player Dipika Pallikal added a bronze to India’s tally after she lost her women’s singles semi-final 0-3 to Malaysian ace Nicol David. Joshna Chinappa also added another a bronze to the Indian tally after the she lost 1-3 to 19-year-old Sivasangari Subramaniam of Malaysia.
Saurav Ghosal also lost his semis squash contest 2-3 to Chun Ming of Hong to add another bronze to India’s tally.
Indian shuttlers Saina Nehwal and P.V. Sindhu advanced to the quarter-finals of the women’s singles competition while the doubles duo of Ashwini Ponnappa and N. Sikki Reddy perished in the quarters. The 28-year-old Saina registered a straight sets victory over Indonesia’s Fitriani Fitriani 21-6, 21-14 while Sindhu overpowered Gregoria Mariska Tunjung 21-12, 21-15 in the pre-quarters.
Saina won the first game 21-6 before Fitriani dominated the early parts of the second game. However, the Indian fought back and sealed the affair 21-14.
Sindhu, on the other hand, took 34 minutes to beat her opponent. In both the games, Sindhu seemed perfect unlike the last match where she almost lost the issue.
The women’s doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N. Sikki Reddy bowed out in the quarter-finals, losing to Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan 11-21, 22-24 in straight sets.