A dominating Bajrang Punia opened India’s gold medal account at the Asian Games, bringing smiles to the Indian camp which was jolted by the early exit of star wrestler Sushil Kumar in Jakarta on Sunday.

Bajrang won his maiden Asian Games gold in the 65kg category but a rusty Sushil lost his last chance to add an Asiad gold to his collection of medals after losing his qualification bout 3-5 to Bahrain’s Adam Batirov in the 74kg category.

Bajrang came into the Games after winning three tournaments – Commonwealth Games, Tbilisi Grand Prix and Yasar Dogu International – and carried on with his superlative show here.

Such was his domination that the 24-year-old from Haryana won all his bouts, till the final, by technical superiority.

In the final, he was tested by Japan’s Takatani Daichi but Bajrang held his nerves to prevail 11-8 in an exciting battle.

Bajrang emulated his mentor Yogeshwar Dutt, who won gold in the last edition, and is now one of the few Indian Asiad gold medal winners in wrestling.

Kartar Singh (1978, 1986), Satpal Singh (1982), Rajinder Singh (1978), Changdi Ram (1970) and Maruti Mane (1962) are among Asiad gold winners from India.

Sandeep Tomar (57kg), Mausam Khatri (97kg) and Pawan Kumar (86kg) faded out early.

Apurvi Chandela-Ravi Kumar bag mixed rifle team bronze

India won their first medal of the 18th Asian Games as Apurvi Chandela and Ravi Kumar bagged the bronze in the 10m air rifle mixed team on Sunday. The Indian duo scored 429.9 in the five-team final to finish behind Chinese Taipei who won the gold and silver medallist China.

It was a tense final in the newly-added event as the top three places kept alternating between Chinese Taipei, Korea and India, before China not only saved elimination before the medal rounds but also pushed India down the podium.

In the qualification, the Indian pair had finished second behind Korea with a total score of 835.3

India thrash Indonesia 8-0 in hockey

Drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur scored a hat-trick as the Indian women’s hockey team thrashed lowly Indonesia 8-0 to begin its Asian Games campaign on a rousing note.

The Indian side, ranked highest in the competition at ninth, completely dominated the Pool B match against the home team, which does not even feature in the FIH rankings chart.

Gurjit found the target in the 16th, 22nd and 57th minutes, while Vandana Katariya (13th and 27th) struck twice. Udita (6th), Lalremsiami (24th) and Navneet Kaur (50th) were the other Indian scorers.

Swimmers Sajan and Srihari finish 5th, 7th

Indian swimmers Sajan Prakash and Srihari Nataraj finished a creditable fifth and seventh in the men’s 200m butterfly and 100m backstroke events respectively.

Starting in lane three, Prakash clocked 1:57.75 in 200m butterfly final with Japan’s Seto Daiya winning it comfortably with a timing of 1:54.53. Prakash had qualified as third fastest swimmer in the heats.

In the 100m backstroke event, Nataraj clocked 56.19 seconds. His qualification time of 55.86 was the slowest among the eight finalists.

Earlier today, Saurabh Sangvekar had crashed out of the 200m freestyle event, clocking 1:54.87 seconds.

India off to a winning start in Kabaddi

The Indian kabaddi contingent made an impressive start to its campaign at the 18th Asian Games with the women’s team mauling Japan and the men’s side beating Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Indian men’s and women’s teams had clinched the gold medal in the last Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, and both the sides today dished out brilliant performances to make a winning start in Indonesia.

The men’s team outclassed Sri Lanka 44-28 in the second Group A match after opening its campaign with a 50-21 win over Bangladesh early in the day.

In another lop-sided encounter, the women’s team pulled off a dominating 43-12 win over Japan in its Group A opener here.