India's shooters joined the weightlifters on the podium at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast on Sunday, before the women's table tennis team created a moment of history with a gold of their own. India found heroes in Manika Batra, Punam Yadav and Manu Bhaker as they moved to fourth on the medals table with seven gold in all.
Golden dawn in TT
Ever since the sport had been introduced to the Commonwealth Games in 2002, no team apart from Singapore had ever claimed the women's team title in table tennis. It appeared India had little chance against a side that was amongst the strongest in the world. There seemed little reason for the script to change this year too. It was left to Manika Batra followed by the doubles pair of Mouma Das and Madhurika Patkar to write India's name into the record books.
The 22-year-old Batra, already India's best singles player at World Number 58, faced a tough ask against a three-time Olympic medalist Feng Tianwei. Batra, though, played out of her skin to record the biggest win of her career. While Madhurika Patkar lost her singles match, the doubles pair of Das and Patkar combined to win before Batra, in red hot touch, routed her opponent in straight sets to seal India's win.
Lifters' gold rush continues
At the last Commonwealth Games, Punam Yadav had returned with a bronze medal in the women's 63kg competition. Four years later, it was time for an upgrade. Competing in the 69kg category, the weight class once made famous by Karnam Malleswari, Punam won gold in Gold Coast with a combined effort of 222kg (100kg in snatch and 122kg in clean and jerk). The gold was the fifth won by Indian weightlifters at this Games, the country's best performance. India might well improve on that performance in the final day of the weightlifting competition with four gold medals up for grabs.
Manu, Heena deliver the 1-2
It's hard to believe that Manu Bhaker had never even held the air pistol until two years ago. Still only 16, she betrayed no nerves at her first Commonwealth Games and completely dominated her competition in the women's 10m air pistol event. There was never a stage where there was a doubt over the final result as Bhaker shot 14 scores above 10 from the 24 shots she took in the final, eventually finishing nearly seven points ahead of the pack.
Heena Sidhu joined the teenager on the podium with a come-from-behind performance. Teetering on the brink of elimination at multiple points in the final, Sidhu fought back to finish second and redeem herself after failing to win a medal at the Glasgow Games.
Hockey teams find their feet
The Indian women's hockey team seems to have found their rhythm after a dismal opening day loss to Wales. Staring at an early exit after they had made their goals of winning a Commonwealth gold apparent, the team had some soul searching to do. After a confidence boosting win against Malaysia, the team scalped their highest profile opponent yet, beating England 2-1.
After England had taken the lead in the first minute through skipper Alexandra Danson, it was a strong third and fourth quarter performance from India which saw Navneet Kaur (42') and Gurjit Kaur(48') scoring. The result puts India, with one game still in hand, in a strong position to advance to the semi-finals. The Indian men's team on the other hand nearly suffered their second straight draw, to lowly Wales, before SV Sunil eventually scored the decider in the dying minutes of the game to secure a 4-3 win.