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Indian Men's Swimming Quartet Makes History

New Delhi, Oct 4 :  Indian men's relay swimming squad created history today at the Commonwealth Games by reaching the final while the country's women paddlers showed encouraging form as competitions commenced in earnest today
PTI October 04, 2010 15:40 IST
PTI
New Delhi, Oct 4 :  Indian men's relay swimming squad created history today at the Commonwealth Games by reaching the final while the country's women paddlers showed encouraging form as competitions commenced in earnest today after yesterday's dazzling opening ceremony.

The quartet of Virdhawal Khade, Anshul Kothari, Arjun Jayaprakash and Aaron D'Souza finished sixth in the morning heats to make the evening final in 4x100m freestyle relay.

India also qualified for the semifinals when Badrinath Melkote (men's 50m backstroke) and Shubha Chittaranjan (women's 50m butterfly) finished 14th and 16th in their respective events.

Away from the pool, Indian women, seeded second in the table tennis team event, started their campaign on a resounding note by blanking Sri Lanka 3-0 in Group D at the Yamuna Sports complex. Led by its biggest hope, Khade, the Indian freestyle team clocked 3:28.06s at the Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Aquatics Complex.

The Indian quartet finished 12.87s behind preliminary round toppers -- the Australian team of Kyle Morgan Richardson, Cameron Colin Prosser, James Magnussen and Tommaso William D'Orsogna in the heats.

Hailing the quartet's epoch-making feat national chief coach S Pradeep Kumar added the team, however, did not stand a chance to attain a podium finish.

"This is really fantastic. We have made history by reaching the final for the first time in Commonwealth Games competition," Pradeep said.

"Our timing is not good enough to earn a podium finish. It will be difficult in the final. However, we should aim for a fourth-place finish, which will be good for the relay team."

But all other swimmers sunk without making a splash. Surbahi Tipre and Arti Ghorpade finished a disappointing 22nd and 24th in women's 200m freestyle.

In men's 400m freestyle heats, Mandar Divase and Ullalmath Gangan finished distant 17th and 18th respectively.

Other Indians to bow out on day one included Beijing Olympian Rehan Poncha and Tarun Tokas (men's 200m butterfly); Priyanka Priyadarshini, Poorva Shetye and Mankiran Kaur (women's 50m breaststroke) and Pooja Alva (women's 200m IM).

Poncha was 17th while Tokas finished a lowly 20th in heats. Priyanka (35.43s) was the best among the Indian trio in women's 50m breaststroke, despite a disappointing 21st-place finish. Her teammates Poorva and Mankiran finished 24th and 25th respectively.

In table tennis, Mouma Das paved the way with a 11-4 11-5 11-4 demolition of Ishara Madurangi Darshika 11-4 11-5 11-4 before Shamini Kumareshan put the hosts 2-0 ahead by outclassing Nuwani Navodya 11-9 11-9 11-7. Reigning national champion Poulomi Ghatak then wrapped up the tie by edging past Kavindi Rukmali 11-8 11-8 11-7.

The Indian eves have to play New Zealand next with Ghana as their other opponents in the group. PTI