Olympian Srihari Nataraj (Karnataka) ended his campaign in the National Games Swimming competition in a blaze of glory, capturing his sixth gold medal with a brilliant show in the men’s 100m Freestyle final at the Sardar Patel Aquatics Complex, Rajkot. He won in 50.41 seconds, a new National Games record time.
Through the week, he watched his senior Sajan Prakash (Kerala) claim five gold, two silver and a bronze medal. Today, he stormed to a 100m Freestyle win, with Sajan Prakash finishing seventh. Srihari accomplished his mission of claiming the two Freestyle sprint gold medals to add to the two Backstroke titles besides anchoring Karnataka relay squads to two gold.
SP Likhit made a clean sweep of the three men’s Breaststroke events by winning the 100m event today, helping Services to increase their haul of gold to 44 so far and maintain a gap with second-placed Haryana, who have 30 gold. Maharashtra continued their bid to challenge Haryana, with just two gold medals fewer.
Karnataka have risen the fourth spot with 23 gold medals, including 19 from the Aquatics competitions. Tamil Nadu, whose 4x100m Medley relay squad defeated Karnataka in the final event of the Aquatics competition for the team’s only gold from the swimming pool, are in fifth place on the medal table.
A 2-0 victory for Gujarat men in the Soft Tennis final against Madhya Pradesh at the Sabarmati Riverfront Sports Complex in Ahmedabad saw the host state end the day with an unprecedented 11 gold medals so far. The home team will look forward to the addition of the women’s Triathlon crown through Pragyna Mohan on Sunday morning.
Meanwhile, at the Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar, Delhi Judoka Mohit Sherawat went for broke despite fighting with a dislocated right shoulder in his semifinal and final bouts to win the 81kg class gold. The National champion he dislocated his shoulder midway through the quarterfinal against Sarabjit Singh of Punjab.
In the Road Cycling competition on the highway east of the Gujarat Capital, Karnataka ace Naveen John reminded himself the reason for being in the saddle today and pumped the pedal with greater intensity to successfully defend the men’s Individual Time Trial while Manipur’s Tongbram Monorama Devi overcame fever and headache to sprint ahead of Chayanika Gogoi (Assam) and Pooja Baban Danole (Maharashtra) to win the Women 85km Road Race.
Services and Maharashtra rallied to win the men’s and women’s gold medals of the Water Polo competition in the Sardar Patel Aquatics Complex in Rajkot. Services recovered to defeat Kerala 10-8 with two last-minute goals in a nail-biting men’s final while Maharashtra women beat Kerala 5-3 in the last round robin match to win the title.
Tamil Nadu’ S Vaishnavi claimed the women’s Artistic Yogasana gold with 134.22 points, to be flanked on the podium by Maharashtra duo Chhakuli Bansilal Selokar (127.68) and Purva Shriram Kinare (126.68). Purva would draw immense satisfaction after the bronze medal effort, having sneaked into the final as the 10th and last qualifier.
In men’s Hockey at the Maj. Dhyan Chand Stadium in Rajkot, Karnataka beat hosts Gujarat 11-2 to earn a semifinal outing with Haryana, who showed Tamil Nadu the exit with a 3-0 victory. Uttar Pradesh edged out West Bengal via the penalty shootout after the thriller ended 1-1 in regular play. Uttar Pradesh will Maharashtra who beat Jharkhand in the last quarterfinal.
Four home boxers – Asifali Asgharli Syed (57kg), Minaxi Bhanushali (57kg) Paramjit Kaur (66kg) and Ruchita Rajput (75kg) – have made it to the quarterfinals. Former national champion Krishna Thapa, who was roped in a few months before the Games to monitor the State team, is confident that the sporting extravaganza will infuse life into boxing in Gujarat.
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