India rewrite history at SAG
India’s regional supremacy went unchallenged as the hosts were crowned overall champions for the 12th consecutive time after notching up a record-breaking haul of 308 medals, dominating the final day of competitions as well in the South Asian Games here on Tuesday.
With women boxers scooping all the three gold medals on offer and the judokas also bagging two gold and two silver on the last day of the Games, India’s final tally came to 188 gold, 99 silver and 30 bronze medals.
It was a massive jump in medal count for the Indians, who had won 175, including 90 gold, in the previous edition of the Games in 2010.
At the distant second spot were Sri Lanka with a haul of 186 medals (25 silver, 63 silver and 98 bronze). Pakistan held on to the third spot with a final count of 106 medals (12 gold, 37 silver and 57 bronze).
On the final day of competitions, action was restricted to this hill town where women boxers and judokas fought their summit bouts.
First off the blocks were pugilists, who ensured that India scored a ‘Perfect 10’ in boxing. After the men had scooped all the seven gold medals on offer on Monday, the women made a clean sweep.
London Olympics bronze-medallist M C Mary Kom (51kg), former world champion L Sarita Devi (60kg) and Asian Games bronze winner Pooja Rani (75kg) picked up the top honours in their respective categories.
On a comeback trail after recovering from a shoulder injury, Mary Kom packed a powerful punch against her seasoned Sri Lankan rival Anusha Kodituwakku Dilrukshi to be adjudged winner via Technical Knockout (TKO) in a bout lasting less than 90 seconds.
With Mary landing some powerful blows, Anusha lost her balance and injured her right knee. This forced her to take a medical break before attempting a comeback.
However, a booming jab from the five-time world champion sent her almost out of the ring before the referee intervened.
The injury to Anusha will take about two-three months to heal.
However, Sarita, who was returning to competitive action after serving a one-year ban for her infamous Asian Games meltdown, had to stave off a stiff challenge from another Lankan opponent in M Vidushika Prabadhi.
The only scare India endured was when Sarita Devi, returning to competitive ring after her one-year ban following the infamous Asian Games meltdown, faced a stiff challenge from another Lankan opponent in M Vidushika Prabadhi.
The Incheon bronze-medallist overwhelmed the Lankan in the first two rounds but her opponent came back strongly in the third with some powerful blows leading to Sarita falling twice before the Indian won by a narrow 39-36 margin to be adjudged unanimous winner 3-0.
However, Pooja ended the campaign in style when she overwhelmed Nilanthi Andaraweer by a TKO in a bout lasting only one round.
The judokas too showed good form, bagging two gold and two silver medals to finish on top at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor sports hall here.
Four events were held on the last day of the judo competition and the Indians put up a dominating show once again to finish on a high.
Avatar Singh took just 49 seconds from the stipulated five minutes to prevail over his Afghan opponent Mohammad Ismail Kakar en route to the gold medal in the men’s under 90kg.
Pooja, on the other hand, overcame a strong challenge from Beenish Khan of Pakistan in an evenly-contested duel before the Indian sealed off the issue in 3:03 minutes from the stipulated four in women’s U-70kg.
Women’s U-78kg was tricky as there were only four contestants and Aruna (200 points) was edged out by gold medallist Fouzia Mumtaz (210) of Pakistan in the round-robin league.
It was the fifth battle of the day between the two rivals, and Mumtaz clinched the issue in just four minutes.
Pitted against Shah Hussain Shah in the men’s U-100kg final, Shubham Kumar simply lost against the celebrated Pakistani, who won in just one minute and 29 seconds to clinch the gold.
Indian judokas emerged overall winners with nine gold, three silver from 12 disciplines to push Pakistan (2-2-8) and Nepal (1-2-6) to second and third places, respectively.