National Games Karnataka’s Hashika and Kerala’s Sajan set the pool on fire
The very young Hashika Ramachandra (Karnataka) and seasoned Sajan Prakash (Kerala) are set to leave their imprint on the 36th National Games after winning two more finals each on Friday to take their gold medal haul to six and five respectively at the Sardar Patel Aquatics Complex here today.
The pair has pulled away from the rest of the aspirants to all but seal the coveted honour of the Games’ Best Athletes.
Fourteen-year-old Hashika won gold in the Women’s 400m Freestyle and 200m Individual Medley to finish her campaign with a grand six gold and a bronze Her stunning show pushed the splendid efforts of Olympian Maana Patel, who won her third Backstroke gold for Gujarat, each with National Games records to boot, into the background.
Similarly, Sajan Prakash asserted his premier place despite the game challenges by Srihari Nataraj and Advait Page. The most experienced male swimmer on view snatched the 400m Freestyle from Advait Page (Madhya Pradesh) and the 200m Individual Medley from Karnataka’s S Siva.
Despite frugal returns today, Services remain unchallenged at the top of the medal table with 41 gold, 31 silver and 27 bronze for a total of 99 medals. Haryana are second with 75 medals, including 29 gold while Maharashtra are the closest to become the first to total 100 at the 2022 Games, with 26 gold among their collection of 99 so far.
Pooja Patel’s gold medal in Women’s Traditional Yogasana saw the hosts pick up their 10th gold. The home State has won 31 medals in all, across 11 disciplines, not only showcasing the rapid strides taken by its athletes in the past few years but also ensuring their best performance ever. Back in 2015, Gujarat had won a total of 20 medals, including 10 gold.
Rajasthan’s Vivaan Kapoor, third in qualification, shot superbly in the final of the men’s Trap Shooting event to win gold at the Crowne Shooting Academy on the outskirts of Gandhinagar. He could sense Punjab’s Zoravar Singh Sandhu shoot in the final with greater precision than in qualifying but he kept his nerve to take the crown.
In the Women’s Trap final, Neeru (Madhya Pradesh) shot better than the seven others to edge out Sabeera Haris (Uttar Pradesh) to the gold by a two-point difference. The vastly experienced Seema Tomar’s bronze medal added to the Services’ tally. Delhi’s Kirti Gupta who had topped the qualifications finished fourth.
At the Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar, World Boxing Championships medallists Simranjit Kaur Baath (Punjab) and Shiva Thapa (Assam) produced similar fury in the ring to outclass their respective opponents, and advance to their respective quarterfinals.
Tokyo 2020 Olympian Simranjit looked in ominous form in the Women’s 60kg class as she unsettled 2019 National Championship bronze medallist Rinki Sharma (Uttar Pradesh). The 2018 World bronze medallist dominated the proceedings against the 23-year-old Rinki Sharma, who looked clueless across the three rounds.
Known for his nimble footwork, Shiva Thapa warmed up in style by recording a 5-0 unanimous verdict win over Aniket J Pandey. The Gujarat boxer was no match to the five-time Asian Championships medallist, who used all his experience to post a facile win.
World Youth champion Sachin Siwach (Haryana) also progressed to the last eight in the 57kg after dishing out a clinical show. Similarly, Asian Championship bronze medalist Saweety Boora (Haryana) got off to a winning start in the Women’s 75kg division.
Back in Rajkot, Medhali Redkar, a 24-year-old gymnast-turned-diver, dominated the 1M Springboard Diving competition to make her National Games debut a memorable one. With her more experienced Maharashtra team-mate Hrutika Shriram unable to find the quality she sought and settling for bronze, Medhali stormed to the top of the podium.
medals: Apoorva Mahesh Patil (Maharashtra) and Arti Sharma (Haryana).
Trap: 1. Vivaan Kapoor (Rajasthan) 31; 2. Zoravar Singh Sandhu (Punjab) 26; 3. Balabhadra Tarashia (Services) 20.
Trap: 1. Neeru (Madhya Pradesh) 26; 2. Sabeera Haris (Uttar Pradesh) 24; 3. Seema Tomar (Services) 17.
Traditional: 1. Vaibhav Waman Shrirame (Maharashtra) 61.84 points; 2. Shubham Debnath (West Bengal) 61.49; 3. Mohammed Firoz Sheik (Karnataka) 61.33.
Traditional: 1. Pooja Patel (Gujarat) 62.46 points; 2. Chakkuli Bansilal Selokar (Maharashtra) 62.34; 3. Nirmala Subhash Kodilkar (Karnataka) 60.58.
Women’s (quarterfinals): Madhya Pradesh beat Odisha 4-2 (Half-time 3-1); Haryana beat Karnataka 6-0 (3-0); Jharkhand beat Uttar Pradesh 6-1 (3-0); Punjab beat Gujarat (15-0).
Group A: West Bengal beat Karnataka 3-1 (Half-time: 0-0); Gujarat beat Punjab 3-2 (Half-time 2-1).
Golf (leading scores)
Men (after two rounds): Karandeep Kochhar (Chandigarh) and Abhinav Lohan (Haryana) 134; Rohan Dhole Patil (Maharashtra) 141; Arjun Bhati (Uttar Pradesh) and Sunhit Bishnoi (Haryana) 142; Ishaan Chawan (Maharashtra) and Varun Ashish Parikh (Gujarat) 143; Aryan Roopa Anand (Karnataka) 144.
Women (after two rounds): Amandeep Kaur (Punjab) 141; Nishna Hemesh Patel (Maharashtra) 142; Avani Prashanth (Karnataka) 145; Gaurika Bishnoi (Haryana) 147; Puneet Kaur Bajwa (Punjab), Durga Nittur (Karnataka) and Vani Kapoor (Delhi) 149; Keerthana Rajeev (Karnataka) and Khushi Kanijai (Rajasthan) 150.