Guangzhou, Nov 14 (PTI) Star cueist Pankaj Advani provided the first gold for India in the 16th Asian Games by clinching the title in billiards singles while Alok Kumar claimed a bronze in 8-ball pool event and the shooters accounted for a silver and bronze on the second day of competitions here today.
Defending champion Advani kept his reputation intact with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Myanmar's Oo Nay Thway in the billiards final as India pushed their medals tally to one gold, three silver and two bronze to retain their fifth position on the table.
Hosts China continued to rule the roost and maintained the top position on the medals table with a tally of 37-14-12 while South Korea (13-10-12) and Japan (8-20-15) were in the second and third spots respectively.
The shooters were again in the spotlight with Heena Siddhu, Annu Raj Singh and Sania Rai claiming the silver in the women's 10 m air pistol team event and Vijay Kumar bagging the bronze in the men's 10 m air pistol at the Aoti shooting range.
Alok became the first Indian to win an Asian Games medal in pool events by bagging a bronze though he lost his semifinal contest 5-7 against Kuo Po-Cheng of Chinese Taipei. Under rules of the event, both the losing semifinalists are awarded a bronze each instead of playing a third-place play-off.
India's men's tennis team also assured itself of a bronze medal by securing a place in the semi-finals against top seed Chinese Taipei but the performance in other disciplines such as weightlifting, judo, swimming, cycling and triathlon left much to be desired on a day of mixed fortunes.
The day clearly belonged to the 25-year-old Advani who showed nerves of steel under severe pressure to clinch the first gold medal for India when he came twice from behind to edge out Myanmar's Oo Nay Thway 3-2 and retain his title after a bitterly fought billiards singles final.
Advani was down 1-2 after losing the first and third frames, but fought back in dogged fashion to clinch the fourth to take the match into a nerve-wracking final frame.
A beaming Advani, who has won the world professional and IBSF titles in the past, said this was the biggest title of his career.
"This feels great. This is Olympics for me as unfortunately we are not there in the Olympics. This time I made it a point to win the first gold for the country. It's an absolutely emotional moment for me. I cant't ask for more," he said.
After Narang's exploits on the opening day, the Indian women shooters Heena Sidhu, Annu Raj Singh and Sonia Rai had their moment of glory as they won the silver medal in the 10m Air Pistol team event. PTI