India cross 100-gold medal mark at South Asian Games
India continued their dominance at the 2019 South Asian Games as their grapplers joined the party with some quality performances to clinch four more gold medals to take the tally to 106 gold, 69 silver and 35 bronze medals on Saturday
Taking to the mat in the 97kg freestyle category in Kathmandu, national champion Satyawart Kadian was the first to climb on top of the podium as he looked in great shape in his win over Pakistan’s Tabiyar Raza. Kadian, who is married to the 2016 Rio Olympic bronze medallist Sakshi Malik, won the bout 10-1 to clinch the top prize.
In the 125kg freestyle category too, Indian wrestler Sumit Malik barely faced any challenge as he overpowered his opponent by a margin of 8-2 to win the gold medal.
The story was no different in the women’s freestyle category as well as the Indians maintained their dominance with some commanding performances on Saturday.
In the 76kg category, Gursharanpreet Kaur continued from where she left off at the National championships a week ago to win the gold medal with a 10-0 over her Sri Lankan opponent in the final. The wrestler from Punjab recently made a comeback to competitive wrestling after a seven-year hiatus, but barely looked in trouble against her opponent as she dished out a fine show for her title.
Just like Gursharanpreet, Sarita Mor too faced no difficulty in seeing off her challenge to win the gold medal in the 57kg category.
On Friday, Sheetal Tomar (50kg), Pinki (57kg), Amit Kumar (65kg) and Rahul Kumar (57kg) helped India to a splendid start in wrestling by winning the gold medals.
Football team enters final at South Asian Games
Saturday also saw the Indian women’s football team make it to the final of the competition in Kathmandu.
The Indian women's team registered their third win on the trot with a close 1-0 victory over hosts Nepal to seal their place in the gold-medal match. Skipper Bala Devi’s 18th-minute strike was the difference on the day as both the teams showed great composure to counter each other’s strategies for larger parts of the match. The Indian side will take on Nepal in the final on Sunday.
Medals assured in squash at South Asian Games
There were more reasons to cheer for the Indian camp as they were assured of a few medals from squash.
In the individual matches played on Saturday, India’s Harinder Pal Sandhu was at his fighting best as he dug deep to beat Farhan Mehboob of Pakistan 9-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-8, 11-7 to confirm his place in the final of the competition. However, Sandhu’s compatriot Abhay Singh couldn’t do the same as he bowed out after a 6-11, 11-4, 12-14, 12-10, 11-7 loss to the top-seed Tayyab Aslam of Pakistan.
Meanwhile, in the women’s singles, there was no such trouble as both Sunayna Kuruvilla and Tanvi Khanna ensured that the final will be an all-Indian affair following their fine wins in the last-four tie. While Kuruvilla beat Pakistan’s Faiza Zafar 7-9, 11-6, 11-0, 11-6, Khanna got the better of Madina Zafar, also from Pakistan, 12-10, 11-6, 11-7.
Pugilists shine at South Asian Games
Indian boxers too were in top form as many as seven Indians made it to the finals of their respective categories at the South Asian Games.
Leading their charge was the AIBA World Championships bronze medallist Manish Kaushik (64kg), who had no trouble in seeing off Sri Lanka’s Ponnawila Vidanalage 5-0 to make his way into the gold medal bout.
Apart from Kaushik, the 2017 Asian Championship bronze medallist Shiksha (54kg), S Kalaivani (48kg), Sachin Siwach (56kg), Ankit Khatana (75kg), Vinod Tanwar (49kg) and Gaurav Chauhan (91kg) all progressed to the final.