National Games: Day 8 roundup
All the highlights from Day 8 of the 2015 National Games.
Naveen John Thomas of Karnataka clinched gold in the 36 Km Individual Time Trial Road Race Men in the first event of the day. He finished with a time of 50 min, 8 seconds, a good 20 seconds clear of silver medallist Arvind Panwar of Maharashtra. Amit Jangara of Services came third in a time of 50 min, 44 seconds.
In the other cycling event of the day, home fans had planty to cheer about as Rejani Vijayakumari and Anjitha Subalithan won gold and bronze respectively in the 72 Km Road Mass Start Women competition. Rejani finished with a time of 2 hours, 29 minutes and 40 seconds just 0.1 seconds ahead of Haryana’s Seema Rani.
Odisha got the better of Haryana by 3-0 in the first women’s semifinal. Lochana Honda opened the scoring for Odisha in the sixth minute of the game. Menaka Malik added more worry to Haryana’s defense by scoring twice within a space of 3 minutes in the second half.
In the other semifinal, Manipur beat hosts Kerala by an identical margin. Bala Devi scored the first two goals within the opening 10 minutes of the game to give Manipur the edge. Prameshori Devi scored in the 50th minute to make it 3-0. Kerala did not convert their chances to crash out of the games.
The preliminaries continued in the women’s section on second Sunday of the games. In a high scoring first match, Karnataka beat hosts Kerala 4-1. Ranjitha scored the first goal for Karnataka in the 13th minute of the game. Sandhya doubled the lead in the 25th minute courtesy a penalty corner. Megha reduced the lead by scoring a brilliant goal for the home team, but Sandhya hit right back two minutes later to lead 3-1.
Suman converted a penalty corner in the dying stages of the match to seal the win for Karnataka.
In a one-sided contest, Haryana beat Odisha 3-0. Neha, Monika and Preeti were the goal scorers for Haryana.
Punjab beat Uttar Pradesh 3-1 courtesy a hattrick by Anuradha Thokchom. Komal Sohni scored the lone goal for UP, but it was too little too late to affect the result.
In another high-scoring contest, Jharkhand beat Maharashtra 5-2. Maharashtra got the early lead after Aishwarya Chavan converted a superb pass in the 12th minute. Sarita Lakra equalised the scores in the 27th minute for Jharkhand. Two goals by Rajni Soreng within a space of 3 minutes helped Jharkhand take the lead. Kanti Pradhan and Anima Minz added misery to Maharashtra’s defence with superb goals. Kavita Vidyarthi scored Maharashtra’s second goal in the 64th minute, but it wasn’t sufficient from preventing Jharkhand from walking away with a comfortable win.
In the much anticipated women’s singles final, No. 1 seed Ankita Raina took on No. 2 Prarthana Thombare. The first set was filled with breaks of serve as both players struggled to maintain any kind of rhythm on their serve. Ankita got the crucial break in the eleventh game before serving the first set 7-5.
Prarthana jumped to a 3-0 lead in the second set, but Ankita played aggressive tennis to win the next six games on the trot. Ankita won the gold and Prarthana had to be content with silver.
In the men's singles final, Tamilnadu was guaranteed a gold as Sriram Balaji faced off against Ramkumar Ramanathan. The first few games promised a even contest on the cards, but Ramkumar broke Balaji’s serve to take the first set 6-2. However, the second set was closer with Balaji creating break point chances with clever play at the net.
Ramkumar held his nerve and serves to romp home with the gold medal after winning the second set 6-4.
Ankita added another gold in her tally in the women’s doubles event. Ankita and her partner Eetee Maheta against the Telangana pair of Nidhi Chilumula and Sowjanya Bavisetti. They dominated from the start and won the match 6-2, 6-1.
The men’s doubles match was a much tighter affair with Telangana and Tamilnadu vying for the gold medal. Saketh Myneni and Vishnu Vardhan lost the opening set in a tie breaker, but came back strongly in the second set to take it 6-3. The third set was evenly fought with both teams not willing to give any quarter.
Telangana team handled pressure better to win the final set 11-9 and the gold.