| Kunjurani Devi on arrival in New Delhi on Friday. (PTI)
Melbourne: Pistol shooter Samresh Jung’s dream of an unprecedented seven-gold haul lay in tatters, while rifle man Gagan Narang was the sole top finisher as India slipped behind Canada to fourth position in the leaderboard at the 18th Commonwealth Games here on Friday.
It was a lean day for India at the Games with only the shooters adding to India’s tally with a gold, silver and bronze to their credit. Ace woman long jumper Anju Bobby George disappointed, finishing sixth.
With only two days left in the competition, Canada increased their medal count to 20 gold, 26 silver and 25 bronze medals to overtake India and go up to the third spot. At the end of Day IX, India’s bounty read 20-13-10.
Samresh paid the price for a lapse in concentration in the 25m centre fire pistol tie-breaker and had to settle for bronze.
The Delhi shooter, who was the leading Indian competitor with five gold going into the event, was in peak form in the precision and rapid round to tally 578 points, which tied him with Singapore’s Shaw Ming On and Gregory Yelavich of New Zealand. But Samresh could muster only 44 in the shootout to drop out of the gold-silver race. Ming On ultimately took the gold and Yelavich settled for silver. Jaspal Rana ended up fourth with 577.
Samresh still has a chance to equal the Games record of six gold, now held by Australian swimmers Ian Thorpe and Susie ’Neil, when he sets foot at the ranges for Saturday’s 25m standard pistol individual event.
Narang picked up his fourth gold with a Games final record of 1261.4 points in the 50m rifle 3 positions. Abhinav Bindra (1248.6) clinched a silver, making it a 1-2 for the nation.
This was India’s 16th gold in shooting at Melbourne.
In the showpiece athletics event, World No.5 Anju came a cropper in the medal fight, despite her year’s best leap of 6.54 m. She failed to get into rhythm and was way eventual champion Bronwyn Thompson (6.97m), who created a new Games record.
The men’s hockey team, after having narrowly missed a semi-final berth, put up a dismal show in the classification match against New Zealand to go down 1-2 and finish sixth among 10 teams.
The Indians failed to hold on to a first half lead, and their fate was sealed when Phillip Burrows scored a golden goal three minutes into extra time to break a 1-1 deadlock and ensure fifth spot for the Kiwis.
In table tennis, Achanta Sharath Kamal remained India’s only medal hope as he moved into the semi-final with a 11-3, 13-11, 11-8, 5-11, 7-11 and 11-7 win over Cai Li Xiao of Singapore. Sharath will meet Nigerian Segun Troila for a place in the final.
Indian challenge also came to an end in badminton as ace shuttler Chetan Anand lost to Choong Hann Wong of Malaysia 11-21, 21-17 and 13-21 in a keen tussle. Aparna Popat went down down 13-21, 14-21 to Elizabeth Cann of Jersey.
Men’s national champion Anup Sridhar lost 15-21, 18-21 to top seed Malaysian Lee Chong Wei.
Meanwhile, Commonwealth Games Federation president Mike Fennell formally announced that two Indian lifters ' Tejinder Singh and Edwin Raju ' had failed dope tests.
The CGF chief said both the A and B samples of the lifters had returned positive and the matter has been referred to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which is a procedure as per the protocols governing dope cases at the Games.
The CAS hearing is to be held on Saturday and a verdict is expected on Sunday.