There was no stopping the Indian contingent on the penultimate day of the 2019 South Asian Games, as they added a clutch of medals to their tally in Kathmandu, Nepal.
The performances on Monday saw India’s medals tally rise to 149 gold, 89 silver and 43 bronze medals.
The Indian women’s football team ensured that there were no slip-ups in their quest for a third straight gold medal at the Games, beating hosts Nepal by a comfortable 2-0 margin.
Leading the Indian charge was none other than their inspirational skipper Bala Devi, who netted two goals to hand India the gold and end the competition as its top scorer, with five goals in four matches.
India on the attack at the South Asian Games
The Indians started the final on an attacking note, with midfielders Sangita Basfore and Ratanbala Devi running the show for the team.
Though they did squander a few opportunities in the initial few minutes, the Indians soon made the most of the dominant start. Goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan found her skipper Bala Devi with a long ball, who made no mistake to slot in the opener in the 18th minute.
Later in the second half, it was Ratanbala who turned provider for Bala Devi, who scored her second for the day in the 56th minute to put the game beyond Nepal’s reach.
A wrestling sweep at the South Asian Games
Having won gold medals in all weight categories at the South Asian Games so far, the Indian wrestlers ensured that they continued their fine run to a clean sweep of the titles on offer at the Games on Monday.
While Gaurav Baliyan had no trouble in picking up the gold in the men’s 74kg freestyle category, Anita Sheoran won the top prize in the women’s 68kg category.
Baliyan, who has been in impressive form this season, enjoyed an easy outing as he eased past his opponents from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to clinch his gold, while Sheoran took just 48 seconds to pin down her opponent from Sri Lanka to claim the yellow metal.
Having entered their athletes in 14 weight categories in the competitions, the Indians returned with a gold in each of those categories at the Games.
Myneni surprised at the South Asian Games
On the tennis courts, the Indians once again asserted their supremacy in the singles section, with the finals being an all-Indian affair at the South Asian Games.
However, there was some surprise in store for — Saketh Myneni — the top seed in the men’s section, as his compatriot Manish Sureshkumar pulled off a fine 6-4, 7-6 (6) win to take the gold on Monday.
In the women’s singles final, Sathwika Sama was handed the tie after her fellow countrywoman Sowjanya Bavisetti was forced to withdraw from the final midway through the third set.
Having shared a set each, Bavisetti had to pull out of the match owing to a wrist injury with the score reading 4-6, 6-2, 6-5 (retired).
Kaushik claims silver at the South Asian Games
Meanwhile, in boxing, bronze medalist at the 2019 World Championships, Manish Kaushik had to be content with a silver medal at the South Asian Games after he lost his final in the men’s 64kg to local favourite Bhupendra Thapa.
In the women’s section, while Kalaivani Srinivasan (48kg) won the gold with a fine display against Nepal’s Lalita Maharjan, Shiksha lost her final to another Nepal boxer, Minu Gurung, and settled for a silver.
The 3x3 basketball teams, meanwhile, faced no trouble in seeing off their opponents to claim the gold. In the men's category, the Indians beat hosts Nepal for the gold while the women' side got the better of Sri Lanka for the top prize.