Karnataka dominate swimming while Assam savour home success

Shivangi Sarma held off Karnataka’s dominance to clinch her third gold while Punjab shooters nailed down a 1-2 at Khelo India Youth Games on Saturday.

By Olympic Channel Writer ·

Day nine of the 2020 Khelo India Youth Games (KIYG) at Guwahati on Saturday saw local favourite Shivangi Sarma continue where she left off on Friday and give the home fans more reasons to cheer, as she picked up another gold in the Girls U-21 category.

In the battle of the states, Karnataka fished out an impressive tally of nine medals across the day's swimming competitions.

Meanwhile, Punjab shooters Niraj Kumar and Sartaj Tiwana bagged a 1-2 in the 50m Rifle 3 Positions U-21 men's event.

Shivangi Sarma swimming in success

After winning two gold medals on the opening day of the swimming competitions on Friday, Assamese swimmer Shivangi Sarma continued to excel on Saturday, clinching her third gold medal of the event and fending off stiff competition from the dominant Karnataka contingent. The 17-year-old won the Girls' U-21 400m Freestyle with a timing of 4:34.55, beating the 4:55.64 set by Tamil Nadu's Bhavika Dugar.

Commenting on her success, Sarma made sure to give credit where it was due. "I am very fortunate to have the full support of my parents, and I believe that I have been able to win the medals here because of the hard work I have put in on a consistent basis," she said.

Sarma also made it clear that her success was but a stepping stone towards her ultimate goal of competing at the bigger stages of the world, such as the Olympics, some day.

"I am also happy to have won my third gold medal for Assam, it is something that I have always wanted to do," said the enthusiastic swimmer. "However, looking at the bigger picture, it is just the start for me, and I aim to represent India at many international competitions, and bring laurels to the nation."

A huge haul for Karnataka

Also hard to miss on Saturday was Karnataka's crushing domination of the competition. The state's swimmers bagged a total of nine medals in swimming, including four golds.

Khushi Dinesh picked up her third gold medal of the KIYG in the Girls U-17 400m Freestyle with a timing of 4:35.28, while Nina Venkatesh clinched her second gold, winning the Girls U-17 100m Backstroke (1:06.47).

Among the Karnataka boys winning gold medals on the day were Srihari Nataraj, who stopped the clock in the Boys U-21 100m Backstroke at 56.53, and Aneesh S Gowda, who won the 1500m Freestyle (16:18.46).

Punjab fire a 1-2 shot

Saturday saw Punjab relive their glory days as Niraj Kumar and Sartaj Tiwana established themselves in a class of their own in the 50m Rifle 3 Positions U-21 men's event and won the gold and silver medals respectively.

Competing closely against each other throughout the event, Niraj's score of 452.3 earned him the victory over Sartaj.

"I had prepared quite well for the tournament so I was quite confident of doing well," said Niraj.

Inspired by his army officer father, Niraj had joined the National Cadet Corps where he picked up shooting before going on to win gold in the 2017 Junior Nationals and bronze in the 2018 Senior Nationals.

His fellow Punjab marksman Sartaj seemed ecstatic about their riveting duel and his team's success, "I am very happy for my friend Niraj. Both of us were neck and neck in the finals. I am happy for the Punjab team as well."