The headline number of day five is 33 – that’s what India’s medal tally at the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games stands at right now. But ESPN India picks out seven unique numbers that truly helped define the day that India had on Friday, September 29.
In the women’s 10m air pistol, Palak Gulia and Esha Singh won gold and silver respectively: The teenagers made it India’s first 1-2 finish at the Hangzhou Games. Earlier, in the women’s 50m 3 rifle positions, Sift Kaur Samra and Ashi Chouksey finished 1-3.
There has rarely ever been a series of five shots like this: 10.2, 10.3, 7.6, 10.5, 10.1.
At the time of the first two shots, Swapnil Suresh Kusale was leading the men’s 50m rifle 3 positions final, and by a margin. Then came the 7.6. That dropped him to fifth, and even though the 10.5 helped to gain one place, the 10.1 was good enough only to seal fourth.
From gold to no medal, and it all came from a wild outlier of a shot.
Earlier, Kusale, Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar and Akhil Sheoran combined for a rip-roaring 1769 in the qualification that took them to gold. They beat 6-time champions China by 6 points, and the world record by a whopping 8 points.
Nikhat Zareen came, Nikhat Zareen punched the living daylights out of Jordan’s Hanan Nassar, Nikhat Zareen booked a flight to Paris. Her 127-second win in the quarter meant a semifinal (that comes with at least a bronze) and an Olympic quota.
A day after the Tokyo Olympics, Nikhat put up a picture looking at a digital board counting down the time to the 2024 Olympics: 1082 days it said. Now, she’s booked her place at the Paris Olympics with almost a year to spare.
August 8, 2021: Nikhat Zareen posted this picture
Today: She wins the Olympic quota for Paris 2024
Dream on pic.twitter.com/78EKcdy4WE
– ESPN India (@ESPNIndia) September 29, 2023
Kiran Baliyan won bronze in the women’s shot put with a throw of 17.36m: the second-best throw of her life. It was India’s first shot put medal at the Asian Games in 72 years. The last person who won it? Barbara Webster, with bronze in 1951.
Meanwhile, China has done the 1-2 ever since women’s hammer throw was added to the Asiad back in 2002; and they did it again, Zheng Wang with the gold (71.53m) and Jie Zhao with silver (69.44m).
Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar and Esha Singh now have 4 medals each, the most successful athletes for India.