Haryana embarked on a gold collection spree to spring past Maharashtra in the Khelo India Youth Games on Monday.
Underlining its ascendancy on the wrestling mat, its grapplers added four more gold to fatten their medal count to an impressive 16 gold, 8 silver, 16 bronze. This included a couple of crucial gold in weightlifting and one each in shooting, yoga, cycling and gatka.
Defending champions Maharashtra, who had taken the lead on Day 1, was left gasping in the second place with 13 gold, 6 silver and 7 bronze at the time of writing.
Manipur, who collected six gold in thang-ta over two days, was third after picking an additional gold in cycling.
Jammu and Kashmir created a stir by winning its first gold in the traditional martial art discipline, with Sumit getting the better of Madhya Pradesh’s Ashish in the Phunaba Anishuba 60kg category.
Haryana wrestlers have expectedly been in devastating form on home turf. They had bagged all 5 gold on the opening day of the competition and seemed set for another clean sweep on Day 2, especially with two of the five final bouts being all-Haryana affairs.
But Chandigarh’s Yashveer Malik had other plans. Displaying strong defensive skills, he defeated Nishant 6-2 in the Greco Roman 65kg final.
It all began with Suraj defeating Maharashtra’s Vishwajit More by technical superiority. Ravinder too came up against a tough opponent in Maharashtra’s Ajay Kapade in the freestyle 60kg final. But he kept his cool under pressure for a 11-8 victory.
In the weightlifting arena, Bengai Tani opened Arunachal Pradesh’s gold medal account with a total lift of 264 kg in the Boys 67 kg weight category. Tamil Nadu’s T Madhavan (Boys 61 kg) and Haryana’s Usha (Girls 55kg) were among the podium toppers in their respective weight categories.
At the Karni Singh Range, Shiva Narwal lent a touch of class to the shooting competition as he rose spectacularly to the gold medal in air pistol event.
After dominating the qualification phase with a world class 588, five points better than that of the eventual silver medallist and Haryana team mate, Samrat Rana, Shiva overcame a sedate start in the second stage of qualification.
It may be noted that Shiva had won the junior team gold, along with Naveen and Sarabjot Singh, in the World Championship in Lima, last year.
Interestingly, the top three in the first stage of qualification ended up bagging the medals in the same order.
From trailing in the sixth place in the eight-member field, Shiva jumped to the lead to qualify for the gold match. He was dominant at 12-4 in the climax, before Samrat caught up to 12-10 with better shots. Shiva affixed his final stamp of authority with two better shots than his rival to prevail 16-10.
Sahil who had started well, eventually settled for the bronze medal ahead of Mukesh Nelavalli, Aditya Chaudhary, Parmod, Sagar Bhargava and Varun Dubey.
The youth women's competition is expected to be equally spectacular on Tuesday owing to the presence of Rhythm Sangwan, Palak Ghulia and Shikha Narwal.