India defeated powerhouses South Korea to win the first archery gold of the 19th Asian Games on Wednesday before two world stars of track and field look to end their seasons with a bang.
Gold medals were up for grabs on the 11th day in an overcast Hangzhou in everything from athletics and boxing to roller skating and dragon-boat racing.
South Korea dominated archery at the pandemic-delayed Tokyo Olympics in 2021, snaring four of the five golds, with Turkey winning the other.
But the Koreans were no match for India in the gold-medal match of the mixed-team compound event on Wednesday, the Indian duo of Ojas Deotale and Jyothi Surekha Vennam squeezing to victory 159-158.
India are also guaranteed at least silver in the women’s compound individual, while gold will also go to India in the men’s compound with two Indians in the final.
Abhishek Verma will face Deotale on Saturday, the penultimate day of the Games.
“I’m very happy to win a gold medal for my country,” the 21-year-old Deotale, the men’s compound world champion, said after playing his part in India’s gold on Wednesday.
“I’m not surprised by the result. We knew that we could do this. It was very close, but we maintained our form, we stayed calm in every situation,” he said.
Looking ahead to his encounter with the 34-year-old Verma for gold, Deotale said: “For the individual final, I don’t feel much pressure.
“It will be against my mentor, so it will be a friendly match.” Another notable winner on the day was Hong Kong’s Yang Qianyu, streaking to gold in the women’s cycling road race. Yang sniffled and fought back tears on the podium.
In men’s cricket, Gulbadin Naib and Qais Ahmad grabbed three wickets apiece as Afghanistan beat defending champions Sri Lanka by eight runs to book a semi-final against Pakistan.
After being sent into bat, the Afghans were dismissed for just 116 in the 19th over on a pitch offering pace, sharp turn and fierce bounce.
Seamer Nuwan Thushara bagged 4-17 with Noor Ali Zadran’s 51 the only resistance.
Sri Lanka’s target looked gettable but they blew the run chase, with experienced quick Naib’s 3-28 and young leg-spinner Ahmad’s 3-16 doing the damage as they were bundled out for 108.
Bangladesh take on Malaysia in the other quarter-final, with the winner meeting India for a place in the final.
On the penultimate day of athletics, India’s world and Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra will be strong favourite to win men’s javelin gold and retain his title later on Wednesday.
Pakistani rival Arshad Nadeem, the world silver medallist, will not compete because of a chronic knee problem.
Eyes will also be on three-time world champion Mutaz Essa Barshim when the Qatari competes in the high jump.
He is already a two-time Asiad gold medallist.
“For me, the Asian Games are important. You see these vibes, it’s like our Olympics before the Olympics,” he said after needing only a single jump of 2.19m to lead the field into Wednesday’s final.