Services and West Bengal expectedly bagged the men’s and women’s artistic team gold medals respectively on the opening day of the gymnastics competitions at the 2023 National Games on Monday.
The Services team comprising Abhijeet Kumar, Anas Ali Shaikh, Gaurav Kumar, Rakesh Kumar Patra, Saif Sadik Tamboli and Tapeswaranath Das scored a total of 249.35 points, over seven points better than second placed Uttar Pradesh (242.10). Haryana bagged the bronze medal with a combined score of 240.35.
Later in the day, West Bengal once again proved that they are the leaders in artistic gymnastics in the women’s section as they scored a total of 175.90 points to grab the state’s first gold in the Games.
Maharashtra took the silver medal with a total of 166.95 while Uttar Pradesh were third with 142.30 points after having a point deducted from the overall score.
With the official inauguration of the Games still a few days away, four gold medals have been decided so far with Karnataka (men’s team badminton) and Assam (women’s team badminton) sharing the other two.
Five more gold medals will be on offer on Tuesday in individual badminton events.
Sourabh Verma to fight for gold
Former men’s singles champion Sourabh Verma of Madhya Pradesh will look to add another gold to his tally after getting the better of Maharashtra’s Harsheel Dani 19-21, 21-14, 21-17 in the semi-finals on Monday.
It was Dani who started strong opening up a sizeable lead in the opening game but Verma clawed back with his trademark tenacity. But the Madhya Pradesh shuttler failed to close it off as Dani took the lead in the contest.
The second game was a much closer affair till Dani slipped while going for a tap and seemed to have strained his right knee.
It took time for him to once again find his rhythm and Verma pounced on the opportunity like only he can. He took the second game rather easily and then opened up a 15-5 lead in the decider.
A late surge from Dani was not enough to turn the fate around as Verma earned a spot in the final in 57 minutes.
The 30-year-old will now face Telangana’s M Tharun, who got the better of second seed Mithun Manjunath 12-21, 21-14, 22-20 in an hour and seven minutes.
In women’s singles semifinals, Uttarakhand’s Aditi Bhatt saved two match points in the second game to beat M Meghana Reddy of Telangana 7-21, 24-22, 21-16.
Bhatt will now face national champion Anupama Upadhayaya of Haryana, who packed off top seed Aakarshi Kashyap 21-13, 21-17.
Punjab assert early basketball domination
In the basketball competition that started on Monday at the Manohar Parikar stadium in Navelim, favourites Punjab men rode on a strong performance from Kanwar Gurbaz Sandhu (22 points) and Prince Pal Singh (19 points) to defeat Telangana 87-57 in their opening Pool A clash.
Nathan Abraham Billa top scored for Telangana with 21 points.
Punjab, who won the silver medal last year in Gujarat, boasts of many internationals including Amjyot Singh and Amritpal Singh and were keen to assert their domination from the start.
“We knew that Telangana is a strong team and we had a clear game plan against them. Our aim is to win the gold but we know that we have to take one match at a time,” said Prince Pal Singh after the match.
In the other Pool A game, Delhi defeated hosts Goa 81-61.
In the women’s section, Kerala thumped West Bengal 113-24 while Uttar Pradesh got the better of Goa 60-34 in Pool A.
Men’s Singles: Sourabh Varma (MP) bt Harsheel Dani (Mah) 19-21, 21-14, 21-17; 4-M Tharun (Tel) bt 2-M Mithun (Kar) 12-21, 21-14, 22-20
Women’s Singles: Aditi Bhatt (UTR) bt M Meghana Reddy (Tel) 7-21, 24-22, 21-16; Anupama Upadhayay (Har) bt 1-Aakarshi Kashyap (Chattisgarh) 21-13, 21-17
2-Hariharan Amsakarunan/R Ruban Kumar (TN) bt Prakash Raj/Vaibhaav (Kar) 21-13, 21-14; HV Nithin/K Pruthvi Roy (Kar) bt Deep Rambiya/Akshan Shetty (Mah) 21-17, 21-14
Women’s Doubles: 1-Sikha Gautam/Ashwini Bhat K (Kar) bt Kavya Gupta/Deepshikha Singh (Del) 21-18, 24-22; Simran Singhi/Ritika Thaker (Mah) bt 2-R Arubala/VS Varshini (TN) 21-16, 21-12
Mixed Doubles: Gouse Shaikh/D Pooja (AP) 2-Nitin Kumar/Kanika Kanwal (Del) 21-18, 21-14; 1-Navneeth Bokka/K Maneesha (TeL) bt Suraj Goala/Manali Bora (Asm) 21-14, 21-15
Pool A: Punjab bt Telangana 87-57; Delhi bt Goa 81-61
Pool B: Tamil Nadu bt Rajasthan 116-52; Services bt Kerala 73-70
Pool A: Kerala bt West Bengal 113-24; Uttar Pradesh bt Goa 60-34
Pool B: Karnataka bt Delhi 74-71;
Men’s Artistic Team: Gold: Services (249.35); Silver: Uttar Pradesh (242.10); Bronze: Haryana (240.35)
Women’s Artistic Team: Gold: West Bengal (175.90), Silver: Maharashtra (166.95, Bronze: Uttar Pradesh (142.30)
Pool A: Maharashtra bt Goa 56-52; Haryana bt Goa 56-52
Pool B: Kerala bt Telangana 77-43
Pool A: Haryana bt Telangana 59-52; Himachal Pradesh bt Goa 44-38
Pool B: Delhi drew with Uttar Pradesh 44-44; Karnataka bt Gujarat 61-49