Maharashtra bagged a gold medal each in tennis, table tennis and swimming to scramble past hosts Haryana in the Khelo India Youth Games 2021 on Saturday.
With only two days of competition left, Maharashtra (37 gold) is one ahead of Haryana (36), who failed to strike gold for the first time since the Games started on June 4. Haryana, however, is primed for a spectacular finish with a bounty of gold awaiting them in the boxing ring.
Maharashtra’s Akanksha Nitture bagged the Girl’s Singles tennis title, beating Karnataka’s Sunita Maruri 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 6-4 while Diya Chitale and Swastika Ghosh got together to defeat Haryana’s Suhana Saini and Prithoki Chakraborti 14-12, 11-9, 11-6 in table tennis Girls Doubles.
Swimmer Apeksha Fernandes eventually put Maharashtra ahead by winning the 200m Girls Individual Medley, setting a new meet mark of 2:25.18 seconds in the process.
Kerala bagged a total of 11 gold, 10 silver and 10 bronze in their traditional sport kalaripayattu to jump to fifth spot with 13 gold medals behind Karnataka’s 21 and Manipur’s 16.
Karnataka continued to dominate the swimming pool as they bagged four of the six gold medals on offer on the day with Utkarsh Patil (Boys 200m backstroke), Ridhima Veerendrakumar (Girls 200m backstroke), Aneesh Gowda (Boys 800m freestyle) and Karnataka’s 4x100m Medley Team clinching top honours.
Gujarat were the other big winner on Saturday as tennis player Dhruv Hirpara and cyclist Muskan finished atop the podium.
Dhruv downed Rushil Khosla of Uttar Pradesh 6-4, 7-5 in the Boy’s Singles final. Rushil produced some delectable volleys but was playing with an injury, even needing a medical time out twice in two sets.
Muskan won the Girls individual road race (70km) in the morning in 1:17:23.950. Kerala’s Sneha K and Ladakh’s Leakzes Angmo bagged the silver and bronze.
The Boys Individual road race crown went to Adil Altaf. The Srinagar-born cyclist, who is currently training in Patiala, completed the race in 1:59:22.860 to clinch the gold ahead of Maharashtra’s Sidhesh Patil.
Meanwhile, Mizoram set up a fascinating clash with Kerala in boy’s football.
In the first semi-final, a Lalhanzova’s brace helped favourites Mizoram blank Karnataka 4-0. Zothanpuia had opened the account for the winners while Laldannmawia got the third goal.
In the other semi-final, Kerala goalkeeper Surajith Kumar's heroics in the tie-breaker enabled them to prevail 3-1 after regulation time had ended in a goalless stalemate.
Surajith made two saves, one Mizoram kicker’s attempt sailed over the bar and only Babysunday Marngar succeeded from the spot. On the other hand, Sreekuttan E, Sreekuttan MS and Umer Muhtar scored to propel the southern state into the title round.
In archery, Rajasthan and Haryana are assured of a gold medal as the Boys and Girls Recurve event will be played among players from the same state. Rajasthan’s Kapish Singh and Ajay Kumar Nagarwal will compete for gold in the Boys event while Tamanna and Ridhi of Haryana will face off in the Girls final.
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