Madhya Pradesh’s Advait Page and Kerala’s Sajan Prakash performed brilliantly to win their third gold medals each even as Maana Patel delivered her second gold for Gujarat in the 36th National Games at the Sardar Patel Aquatics Complex here this evening.
While they are engaged in a keen gold medal hunt, West Bengal Recurve archer Atanu Das also captured attention when he won the Men’s Individual gold, beating Gurcharan Besra (Services) 6-4 at the Sanskardam Sports Complex near Ahmedabad.
Services remained on top of the table with 41 gold, 29 silver and 26 bronze for a total of 96 medals. Haryana won four of the five gold medals in Archery to consolidate their second place.
Advait Page’s superior endurance and finishing speed earned him the 800m Freestyle gold in a stunning manner in one of the closest races in the event in India. Trailing Aryan Nehra (Gujarat) and Sajan Prakash for all but the final few meters, he shot past them to be the first to the wall.
Later, Sajan Prakash bossed the 50m Butterfly to complete a sweep of the three events in the stroke. If he was feeling tired after being pushed hard in the 16-lap event by Advait Page and Aryan Nehra, he did not show it as he coasted to victory.
With victories in the 100m Backstroke finals, Olympians Maana Patel and Srihari Nataraj picked up their second individual gold medals each. A start to finish effort by Bhavya Sachdeva (Delhi) handed Karnataka teenager Hashika Ramachandra her first defeat in five events.
Aakarshi Kashyap bags badminton title
Second-seeded Aakarshi Kashyap (Chhattisgarh) dominated top-seeded Malvika Bansod (Maharashtra) to win the Badminton Women’s Singles gold at the PDDU Indoor Stadium in Surat. B Sai Praneeth (Telangana) justified his top billing by taking the Men’s Singles gold after an hour-long battle with Mithun Manjunath (Karnataka). He won 21-11, 12-21, 21-16.
Ashwini Ponnappa and K Sai Pratheek made a perfect start to their journey as a mixed doubles pair, eking out a 21-16, 21-13 victory over Rohan Kapoor and Kanika Kanwal (Delhi). Ashwini Ponnappa was all praise for her 22-year-old partner.
The fancied N Sikki Reddy and Pullela Gayatri Gopichand expectedly won the Women’s Doubles title for Telangana, making it a happy outing for the State with three gold to show from the Badminton competition.
Telangana had more reason to celebrate when their Women’s Basketball team prevented a Tamil Nadu double in Bhavnagar. Telangana beat Tamil Nadu 67-62 in a thriller, after leading 35-31 at half-time. Coming on the heels of their 3x3 side’s gold, this win meant that Telangana women would complete the golden double in the National Games. The formidable Tamil Nadu Men’s squad beat Punjab 97-89 after holding a 46-42 lead at the break to take the crown.
Services’ lone gold today came here, with their experienced divers Surajit Rajbansi and H London Singh winning the top two medals. With good execution of his routines, Surajit Rajbansi tallied 275.35 points, relegating team-mate London Singh who logged 254.75 points. This was the third successive 1-2 for Services in Men’s 1m Springboard Diving.
Meanwhile, in the Mahatma Mandir complex in Gandhinagar, world Boxing Championship bronze medalist Jamuna Boro (Assam) came up with an impressive 5-0 win over Nirmal (Nagaland) to open her campaign in style in the Women’s 57kg weight division.
Her state-mate and former World Youth champion Ankushita Boro also advanced to the next round after forcing the referee to stop her contest with Telangana’s Niharika Gonella in the Women’s 66kg.
Atanu Das impresses
For over two months after his failure to win a medal at the Tokyo Olympics, Atanu Das went on vacations, talked to his wife Deepika Kumari about starting a family to ensure that there was more to life for them than just archery and only picked up the bow and arrow when he made his peace with his disappointment.
Late on Thursday evening, at the Sanskardam Sports Complex near Ahmedabad, the West Bengal archer won the Men’s Individual Recurve gold, beating Gurcharan Besra of Services in the gold medal match.
“The upcoming year is very important for us. This gold is reassuring that my preparations are on the right track. You can say I am an upgraded version of myself. Thoda chillana kam jar diya hoon (Have stopped shouting now). But when I do something big, you will see me shouting in excitement,” Das said.
Das, who had lost to Japan’s Takaharu Furukawa of Japan in Tokyo, hasn’t been able to make it to the Indian squad since then and has been absent from the World Cup circuit. He said he had been low for a few months after Tokyo, taking time to reboot his system.
Though the 30-year-old is disappointed with how things turned out after the Tokyo Games, he said the changes in his personal life have also made him a lot calmer. Atanu Das and Deepika Kumari are expecting their first child in December this year, as per the National Games media report.
“After I lost at the Olympics, the burden was too much for me to bear. You train all your life for that one moment. And then when you experience defeat, particularly knowing well that you were good enough to win a medal, it gets too much.
“Both Deepika and me tried to neutralise this by focusing on our personal life,” said Atanu Das, adding he has understood the importance of staying calm and not allowing anything to overwhelm him.
“Earlier I would get affected by things people would say. Not so much now,” he added.
Atanu Das managed to raise the bar after being locked 4-4 with Gurcharan Besra in a thrilling final. He came up with two consecutive 10s and a nine on the third was enough to clinch the title.
Haryana bagged the rest of the gold medals – Men’s and Women’s Team, Women’s Individual and Mixed Doubles – to dominate the recurve events. Their women’s team defeated Jharkhand in the shootout while the men got a walkover from Services in the final.
Earlier, Sangeeta had opened their gold medal account in recurve events by beating Anishka Kumari Singh of Jharkhand in the individual final. The mixed doubles combination of Akash and Bhajan Kaur then defeated Maharashtra’s Gaurav Lambe and Charuta Kamalapur in the shoot-out to round off the gold medal count.
Top 10 in medal tally
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The results (finals)
1m Springboard: Surajit Rajbansi (Services) 275.35 points; 2. H London Singh (Services) 254.75; 3. Anuj Shah (Maharashtra) 227.60 points.
800m Freestyle: 1. Advait Page (Madhya Pradesh) 8:12.55 (New National Games record. Old: 8:15.49, Sajan Prakash, Thiruvananthapuram, 2015); 2. Aryan Nehra (Gujarat) 8:12.31; 2. Sajan Prakash (Kerala) 8:12.55.
100m Backstroke: 1. Srihari Nataraj (Kaanataka) 55.80 seconds (New National Games record. Old: 57.62, PS Madhu, Thiruvananthapuram, 2015); 2. V Vinayak (Services) and S. Siva (Karnataka) 58.30. (No bronze medal was awarded).
50m Butterfly: 1. Sajan Prakash (Kerala) 25.10 seconds; 2. Rohit Benediction (Tamil Nadu) 25.13; 3. Harsh Saroha (Haryana) 25.23.
1500m Freestyle: 1. Bhavya Sachdeva (Delhi) 17:54.97; 2. Vritti Aggarwal (Telangana) 17:58.28; 3. Hashika Ramachandra (Karnataka) 18:14.67.
100m Backstroke: 1. Maana Patel (Gujarat) 1:04.35 (New National Games record. Old: 1:05.32, Maana Patel, Thiruvananthapuram, 2015); 2. Riddhima Veerendrakumar (Karnataka) 1:05.51; 3. Palak Joshi (Maharashtra) 1:07.18.
50m Butterfly: 1. Nina Venkatesh (Karnataka) 28.38 seconds (New National Games record. Old: 28.76, Divya Satija, Rajkot, 2022); 2. Divya Satija (Haryana) 28.63; 3. Tanishi Gupta (Karnataka) 28.68.
Individual: Atanu Das (West Bengal) beat Gurcharan Besra (Services) 6-4;
Bronze medal play-off: Tarundeep Rai (Services) beat Gaurav Trambak Lambe (Maharashtra) 7-3.
Team: Haryana w.o. Services; Bronze medal play-off: Maharashtra beat Jharkhand 5-4.
Individual: Sangeeta (Haryana) beat Anshika Kumari Singh 6-2;
Bronze medal play-off: Simranjeet Kaur (Punjab) beat Avani (Haryana) 6-2.
Team: Haryana beat Jharkhand 5-4; Bronze medal play-off: Gujarat beat Assam 5-4.
Mixed team: Haryana (Akash and Bhajan Kaur) bt Maharashyra (Gaurav Lambe and Charuta Kamalapur) 5-4; Bronze medal play-off: Jharkhand (Jayanta Talukar and Komalika Bari) beat Rajasthan 5-3.
Singles: B Sai Praneeth (Telangana) beat Mithun Manjunath (Karnataka) 21-11, 12-21, 21-16; Bronze medals: M Raghu (Karnataka) and Aryamann Tandon (Gujarat).
Doubles: PS Ravikrishna and Udaykimar Sankarprasad (Kerala) beat Hariharan Amsakarunan and R Ruban Kumar (Tamil Nadu) 21-19, 21-9; Bronze medals: HV Nithin and Vaibhaav (Karnataka) and Shyam Prasad and S Sunjith (Kerala)
Singles: Aakarshi Kashyap (Chhattisgarh) beat Malvika Bansod 21-8, 22-20; Bronze medals: Aditi Bhatt (Uttarakhand) and Tanya Hemnath (Uttarakhand).
Doubles: N Sikki Reddy and Pullela Gayatri Gopichand (Telangana) beat Shikha Gautam and K Ashwini Bhat (Karnataka) 21-14; 21-11. Bronze medals: Kavya Gupta and Khushi Gupta (Delhi) and Mehreen Riza and Arathi Sara Sunil (Kerala).
Mixed Doubles: K Sai Pratheek and Ashwini Ponnappa (Karnataka) beat Rohan Kapoor and Kanika Kanwal (Delhi) 21-15, 21-13. Bronze medals: Hariharan Amsakarunan and VR Nardhana (Tamil Nadu) and S Sunjith and TR Gowrikrishna (Kerala).
Men: Tamil Nadu beat Punjab 97-89 (Half-time 46-42); Bronze medal play-off: Services beat Karnataka 94-67 (40-31).
Women: Telangana beat Tamil Nadu 67-62 (35-31); Bronze medal play-off: Kerala beat Madhya Pradesh 75-62 (33-32).
Group A: Kerala beat Manipur 3-2 (Half-time 0-1); Services beat Odisha 3-0 (1-0).
Group B: Assam beat Maharashtra 2-0 (1-0); Odhsia beat Gujarat 11-0 (7-0).
Men (first round): Rohan Dhole Patil (Maharashtra) 67; Abhinav Lohan (Haryana) and Karandeep Kochchar (Chandigarh) 68; Ishaan Chawhan (Maharashtra) 71; Arnju Bhati (Maharashtra), Aryan Roopa Anand (Karnataka) and Varoon Parmar (Haryana) 72.
Women (first round): Avani Prashant (Karnataka) 71; Amandeep Kaur (Punjab) 72; Durga Nittur (Karnataka), Gaurika Bishnoi (Haryana), Neha Tripathi (Haryana), Kriti Chowhan (Rajasthan) 73; Nishna Hemesh Patel (Maharashtra) 74; Puneet Kaur Bajwa (Punjab), Heena Kang (Haryana), Keerthana Rajeev (Karnataka), Hitaashee Bakshi (Delhi) and Vani Kapoor (Delhi) 75.
Group A: Haryana beat Gujarat 7-0 (Half-time: 3-0); Maharashtra beat West Bengal 2-0 (2-0).
Kerala beat Maharashtra 7-6; Punjab beat Manipur 8-7.
Karnataka beat Manipur 13-2; Bengal beat Kerala 10-8.