Haryana's boxers delivered the golden punch on the last and final day to capture the Khelo India Youth Games crown in dramatic fashion here on Monday.
Tied on 41 gold with Maharashtra, the hosts swooped on as many as 10 out of the 20-boxing gold on offer to surge past the defending champions.
Haryana ended their campaign with a grand tally of 52 gold, 39 silver and 46 bronze medals to reinforce their status as the country's premier sporting state.
Maharashtra, which fought tooth and nail from Day 1, abdicated its throne, after managing 45 gold, 40 silver and 40 bronze.
Karnataka finished third with 22 gold, including a whopping 19 from the swimming pool. Manipur was fourth with 19 gold and Kerala fifth with 18.
Interestingly, Maharashtra began the day on a high note, regaining the mallakhamb boy's individual pole gold which was held back on Sunday after a protest.
Their kho-kho boys and girls expectedly clinched both the gold to even put them ahead on the medals' table. Haryana's girls mustered the handball gold, narrowly beating Himachal Pradesh 29-28, to continue breathing down their necks.
But once the action shifted to the boxing ring, it turned out to be a windfall for Haryana. Six out of their eight pugilists knocked down the gold in the girls’ category while four out of their five boys danced to the top of the podium.
Maharashtra had four contenders in boxing finals but only one of them could return triumphant.
In the end, Haryana's superiority in boxing (10) and wrestling (16) proved to be the difference in the overall equation. Its swimmers and weightlifters contributed a handsome four gold medals each too.
Maharashtra's athletes bagged eight gold medals while their swimmers, gymnasts and yogasana players clinched six each. Its wrestlers and lifters added three each too to the tally.
On the last day of competition, Mizoram clinched two gold medals with their boys football team humbling Kerala 5-1 in the final and Jeho Puingheta bagging the boys table tennis singles crown, beating West Bengal's Ankur Bhattacharjee 4-2.
Punjab girls defeated Tamil Nadu 68-57 and Karnataka boys got the better of Rajasthan 67-62 to share the two gold medals in basketball while Delhi's boys beat Haryana 38-31 to win the handball gold.
Host Haryana topped the table with a total of 137 medals followed by Maharashtra (125) and Karnataka (67).
There was a special message from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the occasion.
"Over the years, talented sportspersons of the country have made themselves, their families and the entire country proud with their performances in various sports on different platforms.
"The talent and performance of all these players is a reflection of the ever-increasing potential of 21st century India on the world stage," PM Modi said.
"Today the hopes and aspirations of the young players of the country are forming the basis of decisions and policies. Promotion of sports in new education policy emphasises on building modern sports infrastructure. The synergy of modern technology is creating a rich sports culture in India today.
"From the identification, selection and training of talent in the field of sports to the sporting needs of the players, the government is with the country's talented youth at every step," he added.
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