India added two more medals to their Commonwealth Games tally on Saturday. Gold medals from Sathish Sivalingam and Venkat Rahul Ragala in the 77kg and 85kg categories of the weightlifting events took India past their tally at the Glasgow Games, where they had won three golds. However with three boxers moving into the quarter-finals - just one win away from an assured bronze - that medal count will only rise.
Golden double from weightlifters
Sathish Sivalingam became the first Indian man to win gold medals at two Commonwealth Games when he won the men's 77kg competition with a total lift of 317kg. Sathish had won the same category at the 2014 Games in Glasgow with a total of 328kg. Sivalangam, the son of a weightlifter from the village of Sathuvachary near Vellore, maintained his perfect record at the Commonwealth level - he has never won anything apart from a gold at the Commonwealth Championships or Games.
Sathish would be followed on the top of the podium by Rahul Venkat Ragala. The 21-year-old, who was competing in his first Commonwealth Games, didn't dominate the competition as he was expected to, but his total lift of 338kg was still seven kilos clear of the runner-up. Ragala, who hails from the village of Stuartpuram in Andhra Pradesh's Guntur district and is a former silver medalist at the Youth Olympics, became the first Indian to win gold in his category.
Both Sathish and Ragala might have been favourites heading into the competition but neither lifted anything near their potential. Sathish lifted a total of 317kg, 12 short of his personal best of 329kg, while Rahul lifted 338kg, well shy of the 351kg he had lifted at the Commonwealth Championships.
That was because both lifters were battling injuries heading into the competition. While Sathish had trouble with his hamstring, Rahul had a dodgy knee.
"I was in so much pain [then] that even sitting was very painful for me. Everyone took care of me, gave me hope but I was not very confident. I had not trained that hard and my body was not at its best, and so how could I hope for a medal," Sathish said. To make things worse, there was no physio available to the weightlifters. Despite the setbacks, both lifters showed grit and ground out the result.
The Indian men's hockey team opened its campaign with a dramatic draw against arch rivals Pakistan. India were 2-0 up after the first two quarters before Pakistan stepped up the tempo in the second half of the match. As India lost their shape, Muhammad Irfan made it 1-2 before Ali Mubashar scored the equaliser after Pakistan were awarded a penalty corner with just seven seconds to go in the match. The first effort was thwarted but Pakistan made a successful video review that they converted with a hard, low shot past goalkeeper Sreejesh, in what was the last play of the match.
Boxers one bout away from the podium
Three Indian boxers moved to the quarter-finals, just one round away from a medal at the Commonwealth Games, with wins on Saturday. First, veteran Sarita Devi stormed into the quarter-finals of the 60kg category with a 5-0 unanimous verdict over Barbados' Kimberly Gittens. Sarita, 36, who had won a silver at the Glasgow Games, received scorecards of 30-25 from five judges - as close to a perfect performance.
Two men made it to the final eight as well. Hussamuddin Mohammed thrashed Boe Warawara of Vanuatu in the men's 56kg category while veteran Manoj Kumar took a 5-0 decision against Kassim Mbundwike of Tanzania in the 69kg competition.
Shuttlers close in for final showdown
Kidambi Srikanth shrugged off his jitters from the previous rounds as he led India to a 3-0 win over Mauritius and advanced to the semi-finals of badminton mixed-team event. Srikanth had looked off colour in his match against Pakistan a day ago, but he needed just 29 minutes to beat Georges Julien Paul 21-12, 21-14 in the men's singles. Earlier, the men's doubles pair of Satwik Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, and the women's doubles team of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy had opened up a 2-0 lead. India will next play Singapore, though they are likely to also keep an eye out on the other half of the draw where Malaysia are playing England for a place in the final.