South Asian Games: Gold rush for India on Day 1
India got off to a grand start at the 12th South Asian Games being held at Guwahati and Shillong as they grabbed 19 medals on the opening day to lead the overall medal tally.
Cycling brought in as many as four medals that include two golds while weightlifting contributed with three more golds. Later in the day, swimming chipped in with four golds and three silver medals while wrestling brought in a whopping five gold medals.
Indian performances at the 30 Km Individual Time Trial and the 40 Km Individual Time Trial events in cycling were outstanding as they grabbed both the gold and the silver medals on offer. Tourangbam Bidyaluxmi from Manipur delighted the local fans at the National Highway Number 37 by emerging victorious in women’s 30km individual time trial after clocking 49 minutes 24.573 seconds. Her compatriot, Manipuri Elangbam Chaoba Devi, also from Manipur, finished in 49 minutes 31.311 seconds to pick up the silver. Pakistan’s Sabiha Bibi took the bronze for a timing of 50:10.598.
It was the same story in the men’s 40km individual time trial final where Arvind Panwar topped the podium after registering a timing of 52 minutes and 28.800 seconds. His teammate Manjeet Singh grabbed the silver as he finished second in 54 minute and 1.183 seconds. Sri Lankan Janaka Hemantha Kumara pocketed the bronze after clocking 55:25.441.
The gold rush continued for the hosts in weightlifting too. 2014 Commonwealth Games silver medallist Saikhom Mirabai Chanu stamped her class by taking the gold in the 48kg women’s weightlifting event. The Manipuri was soon joined by two other Indians in the winners’ column.
Guru Raja bagged the top honours in 56kg men’s category while Harshdeep Kaur reigned supreme in the women’s 53kg section.
In freestyle wrestling, Rajneesh captured the gold in Men's 65kg category while Ravindra was the winner in Men's 57kg. Among the women, Priyanka Singh topped the 48kg event while Archana Tomar triumphed in 55kg category. The last Indian gold medallist in this sport on Day 1 was Manisha in Women's 60kg.
In swimming, Shivani Kataria was the big winner as she claimed two gold medals - one in the Women's 200m Freestyle and the other in Women's 4x100m Freestyle Relay. The other Indians in the relay team were Avantika Chavan, V Malvika and Maana Patel. 2014 Asian Games bronze medallist Sandeep Sejwal too brought a lot of joy to the Indian swimming contingent by clinching the gold in Men's 200m Breaststroke. Damini Gowda was the other Indian gold medallist in swimming who won the Women's 100m Butterfly event.
Meanwhile, Supriyo Mondal and Saurabh Sangvekar added the silver medal in Men's 100m Butterfly and Men's 200m Freestyle respectively. India got another silver medal in Men's 4x100m Freestyle Relay through the quartet of Neil Contractor, S P Nair Sharma, Sahil Chopra and Anshul Kothari.
Earlier on Friday, Indian archers started their competition on a high by topping the qualification rounds held at the at the Polo ground in Shillong. Former World No. 1 Deepika Kumari and defending champion Tarundeep Rai emerged as the best in the qualification rounds of the recurve category. The performances in the compound section too were equally impressive as Asian Games gold medallist Abhishek Verma and Purvasha Shende claimed the honours.
The archery competition continues throughout this week with the medal rounds being scheduled on Monday.