National Games: Haryana leads gold rush on opening day
Five meet records were drowned in the swimming pool even as star wrestler Amit Kumar was shockingly upstaged and had to settle for a silver medal on an exciting opening day of competitions in the 35th National Games on Sunday.
Haryana dominated the proceedings on the opening day and finished on top of the medals table with six gold and a silver medal, followed by hosts Kerala (two gold, one silver and two bronze) and Madhya Pradesh (two gold and three bronze medals).
The swimming pool was the most exciting place to be on Sunday as the ever-rising Aaron D’Souza by finishing the 200m freestyle race in 1:52.06sec to be the new champion. In the process, he bettered the Games record of 1:53.91 sec, set by Virdhawal Khade in the 2007 edition in Guwahati.
In fact, the record was also shattered by Maharashtra’s Sajan Prakash, who clocked 1:53.27sec to settle for the silver. The bronze went to Maharashtra’s Saurabh Sanvekar, who managed a timing of 1:54.58sec. The record books were also written in the women’s competition where Haryana’s Shivani Kataria, clocked 2:07.46 sec to grab the gold and break the Games record of 2:09.53sec set by Richa Mishra in the 2011 edition in Ranchi.
The silver medal went to Maharashtra’s Monique Gandhi (2:09.44sec), while Karnataka’s Malvika V (2:09.89sec) settled for the bronze medal. There was more excitement in the pool as all three medallists in the 100m men’s butterfly event broke the meet record. The gold was bagged by local favourite Sajan Prakash (55.03sec), while Bengal’s Supriya Mondal clinched the silver with a timing of 55.18sec. D’Souza (55.33sec) added a bronze to his kitty in this event to round off a good day in office here. A new meet record was also set in the 4x100m men’s relay event where Kerala upstaged favourites Maharashtra, featuring among others, Virdhawal Khare, to clinch the gold medal with a timing of 3:32.31sec.
The combination of Sajan Prakash, whose last lap was crucial in swinging the result, Anand Shylaja, Arun Sivankutty and Sarma Nair had the packed stadium on its feet with the superlative effort. Madhya Pradesh fetched a bronze with a timing of 3:33.17sec, behind Maharashtra (3:33.10sec). In the women’s 4x100m event, once again a Games record was broken by Maharshtra’s team which clocked 4:04.57sec to finish on top. The silver medal was claimed by Karnataka (4:06.50sec), while Kerala (4:12.40sec) got the bronze.