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India's domination continues at SAF

India has taken its gold tally to 54 medals, leaving hosts a poor second.

india Updated: Aug 23, 2006 17:15 IST

Regional big brother India continued its domination as its golden tally reached 54 at the halfway stage of the 10th South Asian Federation (SAF) Games on Tuesday.

On the fifth day of the 11-day games, Indians athletes clinched 15 gold, in addition to the silver and bronze medals, even as the boxing competitions were on till late Tuesday night. India, unexpectedly contesting in eight boxing finals, won one gold and a silver till last reports came in.

Paddlers won three more gold and two gold each came in badminton and shooting.

Swimmers, however, dominated the day for India as they won seven gold out of eight finals, besides the five silver, on the penultimate day of the competition. India's golden tally from the pool now reads a whopping 25.

Three swimmers rewrote the games records in their categories, in addition to the gold medals they won. Rehan Poncha (men's 200m individual medley, 2.11.22 sec), Arjun Murlidharan (men's 200m fly, 2:05.06 sec) and Faria Zaman (women's 200m backstroke, 2:31.49 sec) achieved that feat.

The others who won the gold were Mandar Divase (men's 1,500-metre freestyle, 16.17:58 sec), Shipra Mahajan (women's 400m freestyle, 4:40.72 sec), Virdhawal Khade (men's 100m freestyle, 52.71 sec), and the women's 4x200m freestyle relay team (9:18.76 sec).

Rohit Hawaldar (men's 1,500-metre freestyle, 16.43:59 sec), Tejaswani Vardharajan (women's 200m breaststroke, 2.46:24 sec), Pooja Alva (women's 400m freestyle, 4.42:98 sec), Madhavi Giri (women's 200m backstroke, 2.32.45 sec), and Poncha (men's 200m fly, 2.07.33 sec) won the silver medal.

India won the men and women's team titles Tuesday to complete a clean sweep of the seven gold medals in badminton. India has also won four silver medals and one bronze to dominate the eight-nation competition.

In both the men's and women's team finals, there were identical results: India defeating Sri Lanka by 3-0 margins.

In the men's section, Chetan Anand defeated Niluka Karunaratne 21-11, 8-21, 21-17, Nikhil Kantekar beat Dinuka Karunaratne, brother of Niluka, and in the doubles, Sanave Thomas and Rupesh Kumar beat Thushara Edirisinghe and Duminda Jayakody 21-12, 21-8 to seal the gold.

In the women's final, Trupti Murgunde defeated Thilini Jayasinghe 21-10, 21-11, B.R. Meenakshi overcame Renu Chnadrika de Silva 21-12, 21-7 and Krishna D. Raja defeated M.D. Nadeesha Gayanthi 21-14, 15-21, 21-17 to ensure the gold.

In shooting, Junior World Championship gold medallist Navnath Fartade clinched the 10 metres air rifle gold with a cumulative tally of 695.1/700 points (591/600 + 104.1). His compatriot P.T. Ragunath settled with the silver with an aggregate of 693.3/700.

Fartade, Ragunath and Fulchand Bangar joined hands to win the team gold in the same event with a tally of 1,765/1,800 points. Fartade and Ragunath shot 591/600 each and Bangar managed 583/600.

In boxing, India's Akhil Kumar edged out Pakistan's Abid Ali Baloch 26:25 in a close contest in the 54kg bantamweight.

Sanjay Kishan Kolte lost 20:23 to Mohammed Nissar of Pakistan in 48 kg lightweight category final to win the lone silver for India in the ring Tuesday night.

The second string Indian hockey team routed Sri Lanka 9-1 to storm into the final. India led 6-0 in the first half.

Gurvinder Chandi (seventh and 20th minutes) and penalty corner specialist Raghunath (fourth and 38th) scored two goals, while Gurbaz Singh (second), Birender Lakra (21st), Senthil (31st), Sandeep Michael (49th) and William Xalco (53rd) struck once each. W.M.A. Wickremasinghe scored the consolation goal for the hosts.

India, which won 103 gold medals to top the chart in the previous edition in Islamabad in 2004, is set to make a corner a large chunk of the 425 gold, 425 silver and 545 bronze medals at stake here. India is taking part in 17 sports.

Over 2,000 athletes are taking part in 20 sports disciplines even as the national capital is rocked by a spate of violence that forced the South African cricket team to pull out of a triangular series, also involving India and Sri Lanka.

South Africa flew back home after a bomb blast killed seven people near their hotel Aug 14.