Guangzhou, Nov 25: Hurdlers Joseph Abraham and Ashwini Chidananda provided a huge boost to the country's medal haul in the 16th Asian Games with their gold-winning feats while teen sensation Vikas Krishan bagged a boxing gold as India jumped to the eighth spot on an eventful 13th day of competitions here today.
Taking Indian athletics to a new high, Joseph and Ashwini took centre stage by taking the honour in the men's and women's 400m hurdles, an unprecedented feat for any country at the Asian Games.
The Indian men's hockey team and talented middle distance runner Tintu Luka bagged accounted for a bronze each as India added seven more medals to their kitty.
Mausam Khatri also had his moment of glory by winning the bronze in men's 96kg freestyle wrestling event to make amends for the otherwise disappointing show by his colleagues on the mat.
With the addition of seven more medals, India's medal haul climbed to 10 gold, 14 silver and 29 bronze to climb to the eight spot on the medal rostrum and equal the gold tally of the 2006 Games in Doha. India had finished tenth in the Doha edition.
With the men's and women's kabaddi teams keeping themselves on course for the coveted gold and star pugilist Vijender Singh and two other boxers eyes gold medals, India will be looking for a top-five finish.
China maintained their supremacy atop the medals table with a stupendous tally of 179-103-91 while South Korea (72-60-85) and Japan (39-68-86) were in the second and third position respectively.
It was the performance of the athletes which was largely responsible for India climbing two rungs on the medals table.
Joseph and Ashwini raced to glory on an action-packed day to give India a golden double in a single athletics event for the first since 1978 Bangkok Asian Games when the county had won both 800m men's and women's gold medals. Striding smoothly over the low hurdles, long-legged.
Ashwini stepped on the gas on the final straight to clinch the gold with a personal best of 56.15secs, clipping 0.28secs off her own previous high of 56.43 which she clocked in the qualifying heats. Ashwini's victory is significant as she had started concentrated on hurdles just recently.
Young Tintu Luka won the bronze medal in 800 metres event but team-mate Sinimole Paulose finished a disappointing seventh. Luka, a protegee of former sprint champion PT Usha, clocked 2:01.36 while Paulose timed 2:06.95.
Luka led the pack right from the start, but couldn't keep pace in the last 50 metres.
Teen sensation Vikas Krishan ended Indian boxing's 12-year-old gold medal drought in the Asian Games by winning the lightweight (60kg) title but Dinesh Kumar (81kg) settled for the silver after losing in the finals.
India had not won a boxing gold at the Asiad since 1998 when the flamboyant Dingko Singh fetched the bantamweight top honours and it took a little known teenager from Haryana to break the jinx.
The 18-year-old Vikas stunned defending champion Qing Hu of China 5-4 in the lightweight 60kg final that was low on thrill as the Indian decided to play defensive.
World Youth champion and a bronze-medallist at the inaugural Youth Olympics, Vikas kept a shell guard which ultimately proved impregnable for his rival.
However, Dinesh proved no match for defending champion Uzbek Elshod Rasulov and lost 4-10.
The Arjuna awardee was on the backfoot from the word go as Rasulov took the attack to him with a combination of powerful bodyblows and well-timed jabs.
The Indian men's hockey team lifted itself from the disappointment of missing a final berth and clinched the bronze medal after defeating four-time champions South Korea in the third-place playoff.
India beat the 2002 and 2006 champions with a lone second half goal through Tushar Khandekar to end their campaign on a better note than four years ago in Doha where they ended up a poor fifth.
Having their dreams of winning the gold destroyed by the 3-4 defeat against Malaysia in the semifinals, the Rajpal Singh-led side outsmarted the fitter and faster Koreans.
By virtue of this bronze, India ended their eight year-long medal drought in the quadrennial event after having finished on the podium (silver) last in the 2002 Busan Games.
Mausam Khatri gave the Indian wrestling contingent its third medal by bagging a bronze in the men's 96kg freestyle category.
Khatri got the better of Jaegang Kim of South Korea 3-1 to grab the third position in a contest that just over 17 minutes.
Earlier in the day, Khatri, despite suffering a 1-3 defeat at the hands of Kazakhstan's Taimuraz Tigiyev got a chance to take the bronze home after overcoming Syria's Alkarrad Raja in the repechage bout, at the Huagong Gymnasium.
The script was different for Tomar (men's 120kg) as he lost to Kyrgyzstan's Aiaal Lazarev.
Woman competitor Nirmala, too, lost 1-3 to Zhuldyz Eshimova of Kazakhstan after giving her opponent a scare by winning the second period.
Nirmala was down by a point in the first period but then grabbed four points, including a triple, with some adept grappling in the second. The Kazakh women, however, fought back strongly in the third to go through to the quarter-finals.
Yesterday, Asian champion and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Narsingh Yadav (74kg) made a shocking semi-final exit, while Pradeep Kumar (66kg) and Ram Vir (84kg) also met with a similar fate.
Gunning for their sixth straight gold in men's kabaddi, title favourites India trounced Japan 52-17 to storm into the final.
The Indian women, however, escaped by the skin of their teeth in the semifinal against Iran and won the thrilling match by one point (23-22) to reach tomorrow's gold medal clash. PTI