The young Avantika Chawan pulled out an upset and spoiled crowd favourite Maana Patel’s day in the National Games swimming events at the Sardar Patel Aquatic Complex here on Tuesday.
Avantika became the fastest swimmer of the meet as she pipped Maana Patel to the finish in a new games record of 26.54s. The Maharashtra swimmer trained by Virdhawal Khade, lived up to her coach’s expectations by winning the gold and in the process broke Maana Patel’s record of 26.60 which was set in the heats in the morning.
“I was lucky. It was a good race, Maana pushed me hard. I was happy with the gold but not happy with the timing as I was expecting to go under 26.50s,’’ she said after her win.
The day began perfectly for Maana who blitzed the field in her favourite 200m backstroke event. The Gujarat girl was fast off the blocks and hardly had any challenge as she pushed herself to finish at least 20 metres ahead of Soubrity Mondal. Maana clocked 2:19.74 for a new games record and improved her own mark (2:23.21) set in 2015.
Srihari Nataraj warded off a stiff challenge from Tamil Nadu’s Pavan Gupta to win the men’s 50m freestyle in 23.42s. Advait Page, who holds the fastest Indian timing in 400m Individual Medley (IM), made a late charge to set a new record in 400m IM and won his second gold medal of the meet. Advait, who trailed Sajan Prakash and Siva initially, hit the front during the breaststroke leg of the race. Though Sajan tried hard to catch up with Advait at the homestretch, the latter powered his way to clock 4:28.91. Advait broke Sajan’s old mark (4:37.75) set in 2015.
Karnataka’s Utkarsh Santosh Patil survived a strong finish from Advait Page to win the gold in 200m backstroke with a new games record of 2:05.08. Advait, competing in the event soon after winning the gruelling 400 IM, was never in contention as Utkarsh built a solid lead after 50 metres. However, Advait chased Utkarsh in the final 50 metres with the latter just managing to cling on to his narrow lead.
The 39-year-old Richa Mishra won her 49 th medal in National Games, finishing behind Karnataka’s Hashika Ramachandran who won the gold in 5:09.03s in the 400m IM.
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