Kush Kumar won the first gold for India when he beat Mohammad Syafiq Mohd. Kamal of Malaysia 11-9, 5-11, 11-9, 11-7 in the boys’ squash final in the second Asian Youth Games at the Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre on Monday.

“I had to push very hard when I was 3-8 in the 3rd game, because of the training given at the ISA I was able to keep my focus and win. I want to thank all my sponsors, my coaches at ISA, and the federation for all their support,” said Kush Kumar

National coach Cyrus Poncha and WSF president congratulated him saying it was a “great achievement” and hoped more such medal will follow.

The thrill of the gold was dulled a bit as there was no national anthem or national flag, as the Indian athletes were ‘Independent Olympic Athletes,’ as India has been suspended from the Olympic Movement by the International Olympic Committee, owing to government interference.

Incidentally, it was the third medal for India in the Youth Games, following bronze medals by girl judoka Mongjam Kabita Devi in the 44kg class and boy weightlifter Lalchhanhima, who lifted a total of 228 kg in the 56 kg section.

There was further hope of a medal in boys’ golf, as Manu Gandas positioned himself second with a seven under 137 after two rounds. He had an impressive five under 67 on Monday, to be three shots behind Chun-An Yu of Chinese Taipei who led with a 10-under 134. The third and final round will be held on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, teenager Abhishek Yadav ensured India of a bronze medal after he defeated Malaysia’s Dunley Foo to enter the semifinals of the men’s singles table tennis. The Indian defeated Foo 11-6, 11-5, 15-13, 5-11, 18-16. With no play-off, both the losing semifinalists will be awarded bronze medals. Yadav has also been assured of a place in the next year’s Youth Olympics to be held here.

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