Mirabai, Gururaja set Indian spirits soaring
Gold Coast: A record-smashing Mirabai Chanu and a perseverant P Gururaja claimed gold and silver respectively as weightlifters lived up to the pre-event hype by delivering opening-day medals for India while star badminton players added to the cheer by making a winning start in the 21st Commonwealth Games, here on Thursday.
Chanu smashed the Games records in 48kg category snatch, clean and jerk and overall en route her gold-medal winning performance, which fetched her a thunderous applause from the Australian fans, who queued up to take her autograph after the medal ceremony. Chanu managed to lift 196kg (86kg+110kg) in a remarkable effort.
"," an exhausted but jubilant Chanu said.
Earlier, Gururaja survived a few anxious moments after two failed attempts in clean and jerk to claim a silver medal.
The 25-year-old son of a truck driver equalled his personal best of 249kg (111kg+138kg) to finish second in the event and ensure that India woke up to the news of a medal on the very first day of competitions.
"After I failed the first two attempts, my coach reminded me how much my life depends on this. I remembered my family and my country," he said when asked what went through his mind in those nervy moments.
M Raja (62kg) was the third weightlifter in contention today but he lost out to much superior competition and finished sixth overall with a total effort of 266kg (116kg+150kg).
Weightlifting was not the only reason why India could boast of a good opening day. The much-hyped shuttlers also made a winning start to their campaign, defeating Sri Lanka and Pakistan 5-0 respectively in the mixed team event matches.
Saina Nehwal, who was making headlines for her ferocity in getting Games Village accreditation for her father, brought quite a lot of it on court as well and dispatched her rival Madushika Beruelage in a mere 22 minutes.
She was later in action against Pakistan as well and was her usual clinical self against Mahoor Shahzad, claiming a straight-game triumph in 26 minutes to ensure that India had a winning day to celebrate.
Veteran Manoj Kumar (69kg) was the lone boxer in action today and the 2010 CWG gold-medallist hammered Nigeria's Osita Umeh to move into the pre-quarterfinals. The former Asian medallist won on a unanimous decision.
On the squash court, Dipika Pallikal and Joshna Chinnappa, who would be defending their women's doubles gold medal, made winning starts in their singles competitions.
While Pallikal got the better of Trinidad and Tobago's Charlotte Knaggs, Chinnappa sailed past Papua and New Guinea Lynette Vai.
But Saurav Ghosal's shock 2-3 defeat to Jamaica's Chris Binnie came as a massive shocker even though Harinder Pal Sandhu and Vikram Malhotra won.