Uttar Pradesh's Ram Baboo shattered the national record in the men's 35km race walk event en route winning the gold medal on the concluding day of athletics competition at the National Games here on Tuesday.
Baboo, an unemployed physical education graduate, won the event in 2 hours 36 minutes 34 seconds, bettering the earlier national record of 2:40.16, which was in the name of Haryana's Juned Khan who finished second on Tuesday with a time of 2:40.51.
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It is the fifth national record set at the Games, and the third in track and field events, after the women's and men's pole vault national marks by Rosy Meena Paulraj (Tamil Nadu) and Siva Subramaniam (Services) respectively.
The other two national records were in weightlifting competition.
The 35km race walk event was introduced in India only last year in the wake of World Athletics' decision to do away with the 50km event after the Tokyo Olympics.
"I will keep working hard to replicate such time on an international platform too," Baboo said after the event.
He was the inaugural champion in the National Open Championships in Warangal last year when he won in 2:46:31.00.
Though he clocked a faster time of 2:41:30.00 in the National Race Walking Championships in Ranchi in April this year, he was unable to match strides with Juned Khan who set the then national record at 2:40:16.00.
In the weightlifting arena, Uttar Pradesh's Purnima Pandey overcame a stiff back and clinched gold in the women's +87kg class. Purnima, who finished sixth at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, did enough to take the top spot with a total lift of 215kg, with 95kg in snatch and 120kg in clean and jerk.
Maharashtra's Richa Chordia and Sanyukta Kale shared the Rhythmic Gymnastics honours in the Sama Indoor Sports Complex in Vadodara. Sanyukta, the Thane athlete, topped the Hoop events with 26.05 points while Richa Chordia proved better with the Ball, catching the judges’ eyes to pocket 25.30 points.
Maharashtra also claimed the Kho Kho golden double after their men defeated Kerala 30-26 after leading 26-10 at the half time. The women's team had earlier won gold by beating Odisha 18-16.
In Rajkot, Gujarat's leading swimmer Maana Patel enjoyed competing in individual events after swimming in relays for the last two days. She topped the heats in both 200m backstroke (2:24.05) and 50m freestyle. Her Backstroke rival, Ridhima Veerendra Kumar (Karnataka) won her heat with a time of 2:25.64.
Maana Patel broke the National Games record in the freestyle sprint, clocking a personal best time of 26.60 seconds to better the mark of 26.90 achieved by Aditi Dhumatkar in 2015. She thus dislodged national champion Avantika Chawan (Maharashtra) in the third place in the all-time Indian list behind Shikha Tandon and Kenisha Gupta.
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In the badminton events Surat, top-seeded left-hander Malvika Bansod (Maharashtra) quelled the challenge of Unnati Hooda (Haryana) in the women's singles first round with a 22-20, 21-13 win.
With victories in their respective first round matches, second seed Aakarshi Kashyap (Chhattisgarh) and home favourite Tasnim Mir set up a mouth-watering quarterfinal battle.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra's Arjun Kadhe will meet Manish Suresh Kumar (Tamil Nadu) in the men's singles final while Gujarat's Zeel Desai will vie for the women's singles crown against Karnataka's Sharmada Balu in the competition at the Riverfront Sports Complex in Ahmedabad.