India close in to 300-medal mark on penultimate day, set to top SAG tally for 13th time on trot
India clinched 42 medals, including 27 gold, on the penultimate day of competitions to inch closer to 300-mark as the country is poised to finish on top spot for the 13th time on the trot in the South Asian Games. The Indian athletes also won 12 silver and 3 bronze to end Day 8 with 294 medals (159 gold, 91 silver and 44 gold) to further widen the gap with second-placed Nepal who have collected 195 medals (49 gold, 54 silver and 92 bronze).
Sri Lanka are third with 236 medals (39 gold, 79 silver and 118 bronze). With just a few events -- including seven boxing finals -- left on the closing day on Tuesday, India is unlikely to cross the 309 total medals won in Guwahati and Shillong in the last edition in 2016 but may go past the 300-mark. India has topped every edition of the South Asian Games since its inception in 1984.
Boxers gave India the maximum medals on Monday with six gold and one silver. National champion Ankit Khatana (men’s 75kg), Vinod Tanwar (men’s 49kg), Sachin (men’s 56kg), Gaurav Chauhan (men’s 91kg), Kalaivani Srinivasan (women’s 48kg) and Parveen (women’s 60kg) bagged a gold each while World Championships bronze medallist Manish Kaushik (men’s 64kg) settled for a silver medal on the first day of the finals.
On Tuesday, seven Indian -- Vikas Krishan (men’s 69kg), Narender (men’s +91kg), Sparsh (men’s 52kg), Varinder (men’s 60kg), Pinki Rani (women’s 51kg), Sonia Lather (women’s 57kg) and Manju Bamboriya (women’s 64kg) -- will fight in the finals. In wrestling, Indians won both the gold on offer on Monday with Gaurav Baliyan and Anita Sheoran registering comfortable victories in men’s 74kg and women’s 68kg respectively to complete their stupendous show.
With the two gold won on Monday, India made a golden whitewash in all 14 categories of wrestling event at this South Asian Games. India won seven gold medal each in men’s and women’s events. Indian fencers also won all the three gold on offer, winning the top prizes in men’s team foil, women’s team epee and women’s team saber events. It was a near clean sweep for Indian fencers as they clinched 11 out of 12 gold on offer in the discipline.
The country also clean sweeps in kabbadi and basketball 3x3 also as the men’s and women’s teams in both the disciplines won a gold each. Indian men’s kabaddi team beat Sri Lanka 51-18 in the summit class to clinch the gold while their women counterparts also finished on top of the podium after defeating hosts Nepal 50-13 in the final.
In shooting, India won a gold in the air pistol mixed event through the pair of Anuraj Singha and Shrawan Kumar. The country completely dominated the shooting range by winning a whopping 18 gold, 7 silver and 4 bronze medals. The Indian women’s football team won its third consecutive gold medal at the South Asian Games after beating hosts Nepal 2-0 in the summit clash on Monday.
Bala Devi was the star of the show again as she struck a brace on either side of the half time to guide India to a comfortable victory over the home side in the final. The 29-year-old striker also ended as the top-scorer of the tournament, netting five goals in four matches.