The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Narang shoots Indiaís first gold
- Afro-Asian Games - Swimmer Venkatraman wins surprise silver as big names disappoint

Hyderabad: Unheralded shooter Gagan Narang won the first gold medal for India while the swimmers picked up four medals as the hosts had a relatively satisfying second day in the inaugural Afro-Asian Games on Sunday.

The young Narang stole the limelight by winning the gold in menís 10m air-rifle event while the swimmers and lifters did their bit to boost Indiaís medal tally on a day which saw the script unfold on expected lines.

Narang, who was drafted into the shooting squad as a last minute replacement for Abhinav Bindra, justified his inclusion with a remarkable performance to tally 695.7 points.

Narangís effort took India to the sixth position on the medalsí table with a tally of one gold, six silver and eight bronze medals. Asian powerhouse China were expectedly on top of the table with a haul of 6-1-0 followed by Japan on 4-1-1.

The unfancied Arun Venkatraman also caused a surprise, winning the silver in menís 50m backstroke. Seasoned shooter Samaresh Jung won Indiaís second silver of the day, in menís 50m pistol.

Another Indian shooter, Zorawar Singh Sandhu, stayed in contention for a gold medal in menís trap shooting, posing a threat to defending Asian champion Li Hui of China.

Indian swimmers, after winning five medals on Saturday, added four more to their kitty with many of the top names failing to make an impression against their stronger Asian and African rivals.

The young Rehan Poncha claimed the bronze medal in his pet event, menís 200m butterfly. The Millet sisters, Nisha and Reshma, won bronze in womenís 200m freestyle and 50m backstroke, respectively.

The weightlifting arena saw India bag two bronze medals when Sudhir Kumar and Sandhya Rani made it to the podium. Kumar defied an elbow injury to put up a creditable performance to clinch bronze in the menís 69kg event, lifting a total of 290kg.

National Games medal winner Sandhya then brought cheers to the home contingent, grabbing the bronze in womenís 48kg category with an effort of 187.5 kg.

The boxing ring was also fruitful for India as they ensured at least four bronze medals. Four Indian pugilists ó Akhil Kumar (flyweight), A.L. Lakra (featherweight), Vijender (lightwelter) and Jitender Kumar (lightheavy) ó outclassed their opponents to enter the last-four stage.

Rwanda in soccer semis

Jimmy Iraguha scored a brace as Rwanda came from behind to defeat Malaysia 2-1 and also book their place in the semi-final in the football competition at the Goshamahal Stadium.

Needing a victory to book a last-four berth from group A, the teams started cautiously. But Malaysia drew first blood when Mohd Amri Yahyah found the net in the 28th minute through a headed cross from Ahmad Norafandy.

Rwanda, who went into the breather a goal in the red, came back strongly and almost found an equaliser in the 51st minute through Iraguha, who was ruled off-side.

The Africans kept the pressure and Iraguha levelled the scores in the 81st minute and found the net again a minute before full time. (PTI)

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