Gujarat’s ace shooter Elavenil Valarivan gave the hosts their fourth gold even as several favourites, including Olympic silver medallist weightlifter Mirabai Chanu, path-breaking fencer Bhavani Devi and wrestler Divya Kakaran, lived up to their top billing and pocketed gold medals in their respective events in the 36th National Games here on Friday.
The athletics arena at IIT Gandhinagar, however, was on fire, with as many as nine Gam’s’ records falling during the course of the action-packed day.
Munita Prajapati (Uttar Pradesh), daughter of construction labour, and 17-year-old Parvej Khan (Services) were the stars of the day, with Munita setting the first record of this edition in the Women’s 20km walk. She clocked a commendable 1 hour 38 minutes 20 seconds.
Parvej Khan, then, did one better, breaking the highly-rated Bahadur Prasad’s 28-year-old Games record in the men’s 1500m to the delight of the fraternity. He slashed nearly two seconds off his personal best time to win the metric mile gold in 3:40.89.
The 2018 Asian Games decathlon champion Swapna Barman, competing in Madhya Pradesh colours here, claimed the women’s high jump record with a clearance of 1.83m while Praveen Chithravel (Tamil Nadu) made light of a depleted triple jump field to win gold with a Games record effort of 16.68m.
Damneet Singh (Punjab) in the men’s hammer throw and Kiran Baliyan (Uttar Pradesh) in women’s shot put also entered the record books. In the men’s 100m semifinals, Amlan Borgohain (Assam) also broke the National Games record, set at 10.45 seconds by Haryana’s Dharambir Singh in Thiruvananthapuram in 2015.
Amlan Borgohain, who has been in good form this season, stopped the clock at 10.28 seconds, two-hundredths of a second outside the National Record held by Amiya Kumar Mallick since 2016.
Gujarat had plenty to cheer though, with the’r netball men’s team adding a fifth medal after the Technical Committee awarded the bronze to them as well as their opponents, Delhi, following a tie in their bronze medal play-off.
Powered by Ankita Raina, Gujarat women’s team continued their march into the tennis final with an easy win over Karnataka. They will start favourites in the gold medal match against Maharashtra at the Riverside Sports Complex on Saturday.
The women’s tennis team also stayed on course to defend their gold medal, defeating Karnataka 2-0 in the semifinals at the Sabarmati Riverfront sports complex.
Vaidehi Choudhary gave Gujarat the lead with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Vanshita Pathania and the experienced Ankita Raina closed out the tie with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Sharmada Balu.
Gujarat’s star, Elavanil, began the final rather slowly and moved to the top spot after the second series. The leader board kept changing till the last shot in the fifth series and Elavenil managed to pip Mehuli Ghosh by 0.3 points to set up a gold medal match with top-ranked Tilottama Sen.
In the final, Elavenil took an early 4-0 lead and though Tilottama tried to keep pace with the eventual champion by winning a couple of points at regular intervals but could not avoid a 16-10 loss.
Among the favourites, Bhavani Devi (Tamil Nadu) completed a hat-trick of women’s sabre individual gold medals in the National Games. Having barely slept after flying in from her training base in France and having carried the Tamil Nadu flag in the athletes’ parade on Thursday, she spent a productive day at the Mahatma Mandir, asserting her primacy as India’s best Sabre fencer.
Divya Kakaran (Uttar Pradesh) stopped a Haryana sweep of all six gold medals at stake on the opening of the wrestling competition. She won the women’s 76kg class title, beating Haryana’s Reetika in the quarterfinals and Rohini Satya Shivani (Telangana) and Rani (Himachal Pradesh) with a measure of comfort.
Haryana men and Odisha women claimed the Rugby 7s gold medals respectively with victories over Maharashtra teams. Haryana men played a better second half to sprint away from 7-7 at the break to a 19-7 win. Odisha women, who stunned National Champions Bihar in the semifinals, dominated their title clash, opening up a 15-0 lead in the first half in a 22-0 win.
Haryana scored a golden double in netball, their men’s team defeating Telangana 75-73 in a thriller that went to the wire and their women quelled Punjab’s challenge 53-49.
In the men’s final, Telangana gained the upper hand in the first two quarters and took a slender 28-27 lead. However, Haryana stepped on the pedal in the third quarter and wrested the advantage.