The inaugural Khelo India University Games came to a close on Sunday with Panjab University just about denying Savitribai Phule Pune University in what was a dramatic finish.
Arriving into the final day, Panjab University was trailing Pune by just one gold medal. They made up the difference by winning two golds in boxing while Pune University could only scrounge one, in athletics.
That left both universities with 17 gold medals. With both teams at a head, it was Panjab University’s total tally of 46 medals that made the difference over Pune University’s 37 and handed them the maiden crown.
Behind them, in third place was Punjabi University, Patiala, who secured 33 medals.
Dutee Chand’s golden run
Aside from Panjab University’s climactic victory, the other dominant story of the day revolved around Indian star sprinter Dutee Chand.
After galloping to the line first in Saturday’s 100m race and setting a new national university record in the process, Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology’s (KIIT) Dutee Chand underscored her dominance at the event by nabbing the yellow metal in Sunday’s 200m run as well.
“The Khelo India University Games has been a good tournament for our state - Odisha,” Dutee Chand pointed out. “It was organised like an Asian Games, where the athletes were provided with accommodation, food and training facilities.
“The schedule of all events was strictly followed and the athletes were given ample rest as well. So, the competition was conducted very well and I would like to thank the Indian government and state government for organising the event," she added.
Dutee Chand’s KIIT University was placed 17th in the tournament, from the 176 universities that participated, with seven medals, four of which were gold.
The inaugural tournament saw 64 universities claim a gold medal, while 113 returned clutching a medal under their arm.
“We aim to organise the Khelo India University Games regularly and make it, along with the Youth Games, the platform that paves the way for our future Olympic medallists,” Indian sports minister Kiren Rijiju said.
“Our aim is to get into the top 10 in the medals tally after the 2028 Olympics,” he said.